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Mapping Out The 7 Essential Stages Of The Complete Client Journey | The Lead Nurture Series

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Want to know the biggest sticking point in a freelancer's career? It's when you run out of friends and family to sell your services to.
The moment you move into the world of getting strangers to hire you is the moment you find out what you're made of.
It's honestly a scary place to be, but most people don't have large enough personal networks to stay booked solid with friends and family alone.
Enter The Complete Client Journey: this is the 7 stages you need to walk someone through as they move from stranger to repeat client.
This is what most freelancers are missing. They haven't mapped out their own personal journey for their business.
This week I have a special episode that walks you through mapping out each of the 7 stages for your own business.
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • The seven stages of the client journey
  • Answering the right questions so people don't reject you
  • Retargeting leads based on video views or other triggers
  • Handling objections from your leads
  • Looking at average annual client value vs. average project value
  • The crucial key to following up with people
  • How to get great referrals to grow your business
  • Where to get your own template for this worksheet

Get your copy of the worksheet:


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[00:00:00] Brian: Hello and welcome to the Six Figure Creative Podcast. I'm your host, Brian Hood. If this is your first time listening to the show, first of all, hi, hey, hello, welcome, glad to have you here. This podcast is for you if you are a freelancer who offers creative services and you want to earn more money from your creative skills.

[00:00:12] Brian: without selling your soul. If that sounds like you, you're in the right spot. For my returning listeners, we are continuing our series that we started last week on the Lead Nurture series, aka how do we stay top of mind, build trust, credibility, make us the go to people in our field when it comes time for our ideal clients to make the decision.

[00:00:28] Brian: We want to be the decision that is made. last week I just talked about kind of the importance of Lead Nurture, the four big building blocks of nurturing leads. And ultimately, what's the point of nurturing leads? What even is it? You know? quickly go over this today because we have a ton of stuff to cover today, Lead nurturing is essentially like tending to your garden. You've planted a lot of seeds, aka you've generated leads, and now we want to make sure we prune and take care and water and care for and make sure it's not getting overcrowded and there's getting plenty of sunlight. So that when it comes time to pluck the fruit, there is plenty of fruit to pluck from, right? That makes sense. [00:01:00] So just like you don't want to neglect your garden, you also don't want to neglect your leads. And today we're going to be talking through the entire Client journey.

[00:01:07] Brian: We're gonna be mapping it out and I actually have a worksheet to go through I have no idea how long this episode is gonna be it might be longer than I typically would want an episode to be but I'm doing essentially an entire free workshop for you So if you're listener of the show and you're not watching on YouTube, you can continue to listen I'll try to do the best I can to Explain everything and not have to be focused on the visuals on the screen.

[00:01:26] Brian: But I encourage you after you've listened to the episode and you're done with your podcast walk If you're like me and you do podcast walks or if you're doing dishes or if you're driving obviously don't watch the video once you're in a place where you can watch Open up your laptop go through it watch the video and fill out the worksheet that I give you on this You can actually get

[00:01:42] Brian: sixfigurecreative. com

[00:01:47] Brian: Journey. The link to that will be in the show notes at SixFigureCreative. com slash 282 which you can get to the show notes of any episode on any podcast by just going to SixFigureCreative. com slash the episode number. This one's 282. So it's easy to get to all the links that I [00:02:00] mentioned this episode including the worksheet that you can visually watch as I go through this stuff.

[00:02:03] Brian: so before I start sharing this roadmap, I want to talk through, again, the concept of something called the rule of seven and why this stuff matters. The rule of seven simply states clients or prospects need to be touched about seven times, and that number is arbitrary, seven times or so.

[00:02:17] Brian: Before they're ready to make the decision before they're ready to buy from you and nurturing leads is all about intentionally putting those touches into place So that they're not just a random touch that feels like it's violating me.

[00:02:29] Brian: It's a kind hand guiding you through something. It's actually strategic.

[00:02:32] Brian: this is the worksheet and I've got a ton of text in each of these fields. I'm just going to go through and talk through step by step so you know what to do whenever you download this worksheet yourself and start implementing it yourself.

[00:02:41] Brian: But I've got the description and I've got kind of a blank copy here that you can fill out on your own time. So make sure whenever you open this, you know that there's tabs at the bottom of this to kind of switch through. So what is the client journey?

[00:02:50] Brian: It is seven steps. I'm going to talk through these seven steps. There's first, it's unaware, aka these people don't even know you exist, which is, we know that's the vast majority of the world for all freelancers. [00:03:00] Stage two is they're aware of your existence.

[00:03:02] Brian: Stage three is they know what you offer, but they're not quite interested yet.

[00:03:06] Brian: And at this point, they likely don't even fully understand how you can help them. That's stage three. Stage four is they're interested in what you offer. They've shown some sort of interest, but they don't know all of the details yet. Stage five is they've shown intent and they're in that decision making process, aka they know all the nitty gritty details about your service.

[00:03:23] Brian: They know the pricing. They've. likely expressed interest in moving forward in some way, but they haven't paid you yet. And then stage six is they've paid you. They're a client now, and they've paid for one project or for the first month if you're a recurring service.

[00:03:33] Brian: And that leads us to stage seven, which is a repeat client and or advocate. they've paid you for multiple projects. Or if you're a recurring service over multiple months and or they've referred more clients to you.

[00:03:43] Brian: So those are the seven stages. Again, I'll just repeat them really quickly for our listeners who aren't watching. It's unaware is stage one. Stage two is aware of your existence. Stage three is they know what you offer. Stage four is they're interested in what you have to offer as a freelancer. Stage five is they've shown intent and they're in that decision making process.

[00:03:59] Brian: Stage [00:04:00] six is they are a client. In stage seven, they are a repeat client and or an advocate for your services. Our goal in this entire map is to get someone from stage one to stage seven as quickly as possible as quickly as makes sense. Every niche is different and every business is different, but we want people to go through all of these seven stages.

[00:04:16] Brian: And here's the thing that's worth noting before I dive into specifics of each of these stages. People can move forward, but they can't move backwards in this. For example, once someone is aware of your existence, they can't unknow you. They might forget you, but they're not going to. unknow something, right?

[00:04:30] Brian: Once they're interested, they can lose interest, generally speaking, they're just going to keep moving forward, and they're not moving backwards. If they've shown intent, and they're in that decision making process, then whether they become a client or not, you cannot take that back.

[00:04:42] Brian: And again, they've become a client, and unless they ask for a refund, they're not going to un become a client. and it's the same with repeat clients and advocates. they can, by the way, Turn from an advocate to an enemy, but it can't undo the fact that they've referred a bunch of people to you and they've probably paid you for multiple projects or for multiple months.

[00:04:56] Brian: think of each of these stages as multiple brick walls that someone can run into [00:05:00] and keep them from moving forward. And what we're trying to do is Break down the walls for each one of these seven stages. So that they get to the next stage and ultimately stage seven.

[00:05:08] Brian: So now for each of these seven stages, we have a few things we need to discuss. We have the description of the stage, which I've already gone through. We have what is your goal or your strategy for that stage to get them to the next stage. How do we measure this stage? What's the KPI or numbers associated with it?

[00:05:23] Brian: person who is in this stage? What are their unanswered questions? What are their objections that are holding them back from moving to the next stage? And then any additional notes. I've got a bunch of notes in here. Just to talk through on this episode, but this blank copy down here again.

[00:05:35] Brian: There's a tab at the bottom that goes to the blank copy. So you can fill this all out for your own business. These additional notes are for you to put. Um, Any things or thoughts or ideas or projects that you want to tackle for this specific stage. So let's discuss stage one, unaware

[00:05:47] Brian: for all the people who don't know you exist. What is our goal or our strategy to get them to know that you exist And our goal and strategy is to just get the word out about your business. Obviously we need to become known before we can ever worry about any of this other [00:06:00] stuff. There's different episodes that go deep into each of these things, and we'll have some of these in the show notes for you, and you can go back to our lead generation series we did before, but we've got cold outreach, paid ads, we have things like algorithmic social media, SEO, content marketing, et cetera, anything that gets the word out about your business to complete strangers, mind you, this is not social media where we're just posting for our friends and family and people that already follow us, those people are already aware we exist, we're talking Algorithmic social media, things that are going to put us in front of new strangers.

[00:06:26] Brian: and when I say like algorithmic, I'm talking about reels, TikTok, shorts, things where the social algorithm is going to put our content in front of brand new people. Called outreach is obvious where you're able to create a list of people that you would like to connect with and you can reach out to them.

[00:06:40] Brian: get those all the time and they can be effective. They can work. All of these can work by the way. Paid ads. That's the area that I heavily invest in. SEO. when people are searching on the internet for certain keywords or phrases or things, you show up for that. Content marketing. And there's a few more in here, but that those are the ones worth discussing when it comes to getting the word out about us

[00:06:57] Brian: so that we go from unaware to [00:07:00] aware of our existence. Basic stuff here. How do we measure this? What's the KPI? Basically, how do we measure the people who don't know we exist? It's the population of the entire world. That's the KPI here. So not a lot to talk about there. pretty easy to say that.

[00:07:11] Brian: of all the people in the world Pretty much no one knows we exist in the grand scheme of things.

[00:07:15] Brian: Now, for someone who's unaware of us, what are their unanswered questions? Pretty much the only question they have at this point is, Who are you?

[00:07:22] Brian: they will have no objections yet, because they don't know you exist, so they can't object to anything. and additional notes is the only thing of real substance here is you can build a great business off of one main discovery source and one main strategy.

[00:07:34] Brian: Don't make the mistake of spreading yourself too thin here. And what I mean is don't try to do cold outreach, paid ads. Algorithmic, social media, SEO, content marketing, all at the same time. Pick one strategy, implement it, and try to master it before you ever try to stack on additional things.

[00:07:49] Brian: In most cases, freelancers

[00:07:51] Brian: don't have the capacity to utilize fully more than one of these types of strategies here.

[00:07:56] Brian: So that's unaware again. That's the largest population here And we're trying to get them to go from unaware [00:08:00] to now knowing we exist right a simple easy example is Paid ads

[00:08:04] Brian: you can spend about 10 to 20 bucks Show your ad to about a thousand people

[00:08:08] Brian: and about a thousand people will now know you exist

[00:08:11] Brian: And that's where we get to phase two here, stage two. They're now aware of your existence. Congratulations. Now, what is our goal or strategy here? is to push them further down the funnel or journey here.

[00:08:21] Brian: and there's two kind of main strategies here. There's lead generation and there's retargeting here. Cause think about it from the perspective of someone has seen an ad or they have seen my reel on Instagram. They know I exist.

[00:08:32] Brian: But, in most cases, most people are not going to engage with that in any meaningful way. Most people are not going to view the entire TikTok video. Most people are not going watch the entire video on the ad.

[00:08:40] Brian: So if we are retargeting them with additional ads or we have generated a lead, we now have multiple at bats in order to get someone further down our funnel.

[00:08:49] Brian: there's a few different KPIs we can measure whenever we're trying to generate awareness for our services There are impressions or video views and that's for those of you who are using like algorithmic video on tik tok reels [00:09:00] shorts or you're running paid ads on Instagram Facebook YouTube you can see how many impressions your ad gets you can see how many impressions your videos on social media get And this is where you data nerds out there.

[00:09:11] Brian: You've probably already gotten deep into your analytics to start seeing all these things, but these are the numbers we need to look at to know how many people are aware of our existence and are a meaningful enough amount of people actually getting through to the next stage.

[00:09:22] Brian: So how many video views did we get? Or how many impressions did we get? Or in some cases, a lot of you, How many website visitors did we get? How many leads were generated? The goal here is for you to pick one or two main KPIs or numbers to track for these stages so that you can start tracking the ratios of.

[00:09:36] Brian: Website visitors to leads because numbers on their own are rarely that helpful, but showing percentages between stages is what's helpful here So what are their unanswered questions at this point the big questions in most cases here are why should I care if I'm watching? Your tik tok video if I am watching an ad that you have or reading an ad if you have written copy for your ad Why should I care?

[00:09:57] Brian: What can you do for me? Why should I [00:10:00] pay attention to anything you have to say? These are all important questions as you're trying to figure out how can I grab their attention to get them to consume more of what I have to offer. Whether it's my website, whether it's a landing page, whether it's something that I'm offering them, you have to answer the questions for them of what's in it for them.

[00:10:17] Brian: Why should they care?

[00:10:18] Brian: And this is especially true if you are running paid ads. If you can't answer this question in the first 10 seconds of an ad video,

[00:10:25] Brian: you are going to be throwing your money away. Anyone that I've ever seen struggle with ads, anyone I've ever seen struggle with content marketing, especially algorithmic driven content marketing, like reels, tick tock shorts. The people I see that struggle the most are the ones who don't look at it from perspective of what's in it for the person I'm creating content for.

[00:10:42] Brian: They only tend to think about things from my perspective. What's in it for me the, content creator, me, the freelancer, me, the business owner who wants clients. I need clients. So I need to make it all about me and my business. Instead about the client and their needs and their desires and their hopes and their dreams and their fears and what's in it for them.

[00:10:57] Brian: So these unanswered questions are what's holding people [00:11:00] back getting to know you even further. They're aware you exist, but they don't give a damn. Next is what are their objections?

[00:11:05] Brian: Their objections right now are this just isn't interesting or helpful to me. I'm seeing this piece of content. I'm not that interested. I'm going to swipe off of it. I'm going to do literally anything else with my life because this isn't relevant to me. This isn't interesting to me. And now for additional notes, the last thing you want to do here is

[00:11:19] Brian: spend time, effort, energy, money getting in front of people one time.

[00:11:23] Brian: And then never getting another chance again. So you want to get multiple what I call at bats. to give yourself more chances to land with the right messaging. So for example,

[00:11:31] Brian: Maybe you listen to the lead generation series we had on the podcast. You create a lead magnet, somebody down to that lead magnet. So they're aware of your existence. They're interested in maybe the overarching things that you do, but not about. You and what you offer yet, but by generating that lead in that email address or that phone number You now have multiple attempts to pique their interest multiple attempts to show them different messaging show them different things That are going to be more relevant or interesting to them as far as how you can help them.

[00:11:59] Brian: or it could be that you [00:12:00] have an Instagram reel that did really well and it had a lot of views, but the majority of those people didn't take any action at all. This is where retargeting can come in handy because you can retarget on Instagram.

[00:12:09] Brian: Anyone who watched any of your reels organically are paid. If they've watched any video on your account, you can retarget them with ads. And what this allows is they've maybe seen your content one time, but now we can show them multiple ads for very, very cheap with a lot of different what we call hooks and angles until something piques their interest.

[00:12:27] Brian: Something catches their eye. Something that is interesting. That is helpful for them.

[00:12:31] Brian: And just think about this for a second. If you are making content for social media or you are spending money on paid ads, you're spending a lot of money or time or effort or energy or all of the above. To show something to somebody one time and if that person is a qualified lead for you Someone that would be a great fit for your services and they only see something from you one time Think about how waste of an opportunity that is When you could just spend a little bit of money on retargeting or if you capture the lead spend a little bit of time building on an automated lead nurture [00:13:00] follow up series of emails that go out or spend a little bit of time sending a weekly or semi weekly Email to that person until something piques their interest so that they move forward in this process To where they get to know what you offer if you don't do this, you are throwing money away You must hate money if you are not already doing this So this is why we have an episode on this It'll be in our show notes where we talked about the omnipresent strategy for paid ads

[00:13:22] Brian: That was episode 266 how to stay top of mind by being impossible to ignore that's a really good one to listen to if you're the type of person where you spend all this time effort energy building these audiences online But you have only been in front of eyeballs one, maybe two times.

[00:13:35] Brian: So that's stage two. They're aware of your existence, but they haven't really moved forward to get to know what you offer as a freelancer. And honestly, this is really important step for us. The stage three getting to know what you offer, because if someone knows you exist, but they don't know what you offer, it's not that helpful.

[00:13:49] Brian: this actually goes for people who already know like, and trust you as well. There can be a lot of people in your life who already know you, they like you, they trust you, they might even love you, but they're like, Oh, I didn't know you were a photographer. Oh, I didn't know you're producing music [00:14:00] now.

[00:14:00] Brian: Oh, I didn't know you were doing videos now. And the fact that they didn't know what you offer means that that relationship, from a business perspective, was worthless to you.

[00:14:07] Brian: Now, I'm not advocating for you to spam and Market to all of your friends, but I'm just saying that even with people that already know like and trust you if they don't know what you do You're not gonna get clients from those people not referrals. You're not gonna get them to pay you And so for these new people who just found you through one video, one ad, one reel, one tick talk, they're definitely not going to pay you if they don't know what you offer.

[00:14:26] Brian: So we have to keep getting them down the funnel until they know what you offer. So again, stage three, they know what you offer But. They're not quite interested yet, and this is a big thing. a lot of people will know what you offer, but they're not interested yet. We'll talk them through why that is, but they likely don't have a full understanding of how you can help them. So what is our goal or our strategy here?

[00:14:43] Brian: You need to stay top of mind, show them social proof. We talked about that on last week's episode where we talked about the four building blocks of lead nurturing social proofs a huge part of that educate them on your process demonstrate expertise that you are an expert at what you do share case studies and transformations.

[00:14:58] Brian: These are all things we talked about last [00:15:00] week. This is really where you start utilizing a lot of those building blocks in different ways. It can be a retargeting ad that shows a testimonial video or just a testimonial snippet, a clip. It could be case study you share. You can do it through email. You can post it just on your social channels, but anything that's going to get them to start fully understanding the value that you offer.

[00:15:19] Brian: This also goes back to the 3 percent rule we talked about last week, where in any given market, Only about 3 percent of people are ready to make a decision right now. So someone might know what you offer, but if they're not in the market for what you have to offer right now, then they're not going to be interested yet.

[00:15:33] Brian: I think I've used the example with If you are car shopping right now and you're looking for a car, which is probably about 3 percent of our listeners right now, give or take. Then you're receptive to ads and offers related to buying a car. You're noticing more cars on the road, right? So you are interested right now. However, if you see something related to cars and you're not part of the 3 percent that are actively looking for a car right now, then chances are

[00:15:53] Brian: these things are interesting to you. So that's why staying top of mind until that person is raising their hand that is ready for your services [00:16:00] is a really important part of this. So just knowing what you offer isn't going to be enough here. how do we measure this KPI?

[00:16:05] Brian: This can be a little bit complicated here we're trying to measure essentially how many people, like what's the actual number of people that know what you offer, but they're not interested in what you offer. So I've got a few things that you can look to measure here.

[00:16:15] Brian: This can be a little bit complicated because every business is slightly different. But it could be that if someone's reached a certain percentage of a video view, for example, if you kinda have an explanation video on your website about how you work or what you offer or how you do things.

[00:16:27] Brian: Sometimes if they've reached 30%, 50. 75%. They've seen that video, then they now know what you offer. Maybe they viewed a certain page for X number of seconds or minutes. Maybe they were on your homepage for at least 30 seconds, at least a minute, meaning they consumed some of the content that's on there, enough to know what you do.

[00:16:45] Brian: It could be that they viewed specific pages. Maybe you have a page that details what you offer, your process, something like that. Anything in your mind that indicates that someone now knows what you offer. And that's why this is a little bit more complicated because Transcribed Everyone's website set up differently.

[00:16:58] Brian: Some people could quantify this as just [00:17:00] people that viewed your profile on Instagram, for example. Like if they view your profile, it's clear and obvious that you are a photographer and they know what you offer.

[00:17:06] Brian: there's no perfect way to measure this, but what's important is to have a way to measure, to know how many people are in this current stage right now so that we can then see how many of those people make it to the next stage. this is we get the term funnel from.

[00:17:17] Brian: Every stage gets progressively smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. in the amount of people that are interested in what you offer is gonna be much higher much Bigger than the amount of people that actually hire you and become a client and the amount of clients you have is gonna be much Larger than the amount of advocates and repeat clients as you have because not every client is always gonna come back to you Not every client is going to always refer somebody to you.

[00:17:36] Brian: So by measuring KPIs in each of these stages, you can start to measure how many people are making it to that next stage. And that's the important part here.

[00:17:43] Brian: now when someone knows what you offer, but they're not interested in what you offer yet, what are their unanswered questions? This is an important part of this. What makes you different from my current blank? the producer I've been working with? It makes you any different than the, Photographer that I've been going to for years.

[00:17:56] Brian: What makes you any different than the designer that did our logo? If you [00:18:00] don't have any differentiating factors, then chances are, they're not going to be very interested in you unless they just have nobody that fills that gap right now. And the more saturated your market is, the more important answering this question, the fundamental question of why should I hire you over X, Y, and Z?

[00:18:14] Brian: If you don't have a good answer for that, this is going to be a huge drop off point for you. A big, big brick wall. Next unanswered question, how does it work? What's your process? I don't fully understand this. This is complicated. The more button seat your service is, the less this is a question, but the more transformational and the more elements you have in your offer and the more unique your offer is, the more important this part is.

[00:18:33] Brian: Because if they don't fully understand all the value you bring, chances are they're not going to be that interested in what you're offering. Next unanswered question is what will I get out of it again? Some niches some services is painfully obvious I don't have to explain it to you, but some it's not fully clear What will I get out of it?

[00:18:47] Brian: And sometimes they think they want one thing but they actually want something else and I use the example last week where I talked Through my background as a music producer a lot of clients think they want a great sounding record When the reality what they want is their ego Stroked right [00:19:00] they want to look good to their friends and family to their fans they just want the status elevated.

[00:19:04] Brian: That's what they really want so if your material is all about having the highest quality It's only speaking to part of what they want what they think they want instead of what they actually want Which is an album that is going to impress fans It is going to

[00:19:16] Brian: I wouldn't say this but it is going to make your friends jealous because a lot of bands And I know this because I was in a band, a lot of bands are very competitive and if one album sounds better, looks better, the videos are better, everything's better. Now I'm jealous. and so we've got to make sure that they understand that. They're going to be the ones that are elevated in their social circles. So when we talk about what they're going to get out of it, we need to make sure we're subtly implanting that picture tastefully. Next question is, what does it include?

[00:19:43] Brian: That's similar to like, how does it work, but what does it include? Again, the more complex your offer is, the more moving parts and elements that are a part of this, especially for you full service. Freelancers or full service agencies that are out there. This part is really, really important. And now objections.

[00:19:56] Brian: What are the things that are holding them back from getting to the next stage to show interest in what you have [00:20:00] to offer? It's, I don't think I need this right now. I don't think this is right for me. I'm happy with my current blank, my current producer, my current videographer. My current I'm happy with my current blank. These are all objections. And if the objections are true, you're not going to get the client. If the objections are false, but you haven't overcome the objection in their head, you won't get the client. So objections are again, the bricks in the brick wall that are holding them back from coming to the next stage.

[00:20:24] Brian: You could also put this from the perspective of unanswered questions. Why do I need this right now?

[00:20:28] Brian: Why is this the right move for you right now? Why is this the right service for you right now? Why are we better than your, current solution or why are we better than the other competitors? this is where you have to be tasteful. We definitely don't want to. Insult or step on toes or try to look like we're talking ourselves up in some boisterous way.

[00:20:44] Brian: But if we have clear differentiators, we have to talk about those things. We have to share those things.

[00:20:48] Brian: And then I've got a few notes here.

[00:20:49] Brian: Sometimes some pricing questions can come up here in this stage where people know what you offer, but they're not Really actually interested but they start asking pricing if people are coming up with pricing questions These are typically what I call penny [00:21:00] pinchers or price shoppers. These are not truly interested people These are people that you probably don't want to work with those who are truly interested in working with you do not lead with pricing questions

[00:21:09] Brian: And so we'll get to the next stage in a second. You'll hear or feel or see What someone who's truly interested in what you offer is doing, what they're asking, but pricing should not be in part of the discussion for somebody who's not truly interested in what you have to offer because pricing should not be the forefront of the conversation. If that's the case, then you are commoditized service. Now, obviously people are going to be curious about pricing. do you know if they can even fit it within their budget?

[00:21:30] Brian: So there might be some discussions around price ranges

[00:21:32] Brian: or general budget discussions, but specific pricing questions. At this point in the process is usually a disqualifier that they're not a good fit or that they're just pinching pennies and they're going to be a pain in the butt. So that's stage three. They know what you offer. Stage four is they're actually interested in what you have to offer.

[00:21:47] Brian: They've shown interest in some way, shape or form.

[00:21:49] Brian: We'll talk about ways that they're showing interest in a second, but what is your goal or strategy here? It's to get them on a sales call. This is for high ticket. freelancers, people who have a high client value where you can actually spend time talking to them,[00:22:00] what we call consultive sales, where we're discussing all of their needs, figuring out if it's a good fit, figuring out if we can truly help them, figuring out if there's any adjustments to the packaging or the pricing or just talking through everything from the perspective of what we call finding their truth.

[00:22:11] Brian: And finding the truth is simply asking the right questions to figure out if they truly need our services. And if they do talking through how you can help

[00:22:19] Brian: And generally, if your client value is more than I'd say about 1, 000 to 1, 500 per year. You've got to be on the phone. You cannot do just sending proposals. You cannot just do sending email prices, ineffective, and you're wasting leads if you do that. However, you can send them pricing info or send proposals if you're doing lower ticket stuff.

[00:22:35] Brian: If you're like a high volume freelancer where clients are relatively lower dollar, this is like. mastering engineers in the audio world, those projects are generally smaller, they're generally faster paced, they take less time, and so to devote 30, 45 minutes, an hour to a great discovery call to talk through all of that.

[00:22:51] Brian: is generally not going to make sense in a lot of, in a lot of situations. So I acknowledge that. However, a lot of times you think you're in one of those niches. However, you don't realize that the lifetime value of a client is much, much [00:23:00] higher. For example, if you're a mastering engineer and a music producer is trying to contact you about mastering songs that they've just produced,

[00:23:05] Brian: suddenly that client is not just a one and done client. That client will likely send you songs over a long period of time. lots and lots and lots of small dollar projects, but that's going to add up over the year and the multiple years are going to be together. So to have a discovery call with a first time client who's going to be a, repeat client or recurring client or reoccurring client.

[00:23:22] Brian: In this case, that's where you still should get on the phone with them.

[00:23:25] Brian: So that's why we look at average annual client value and not just average project value. When we're talking through whether you should do. discovery calls or not. So how do we measure this? How do we know someone's expressed interest? This is just a quote request. Somebody sent an inquiry or a quote request, or they filled out an application, or they booked a call.

[00:23:41] Brian: Something that says, I'm now interested in having discussion to talk about this further.

[00:23:44] Brian: And this leads to one of the very important conversion metrics in your business. We start looking at

[00:23:49] Brian: one of these two columns here. Either people that know of your existence or know what you offer, Depending on what number you're measuring. One might work better than the other, but what percentage of stage two or stage three [00:24:00] people make it to stage four and express interest?

[00:24:02] Brian: When someone's expressed interest to you, this is a turning point. This is what we consider someone going from a marketing lead into a sales lead. A marketing lead is somebody that raised their hand, maybe they downloaded a lead magnet that you had.

[00:24:12] Brian: And you can send marketing content to them, but they haven't expressed interest in working with you directly.

[00:24:16] Brian: But whenever they've shown interest, now they're what we call a sales lead. These you handle very carefully. Everything's one to one, high touch. Don't let anything slip through the cracks. This is a special thing you've got to take good care of. So what are the unanswered questions of people who are interested in what you have to offer and they've shown some sort of interest by asking for a quote, asking for availability.

[00:24:36] Brian: They fill out an application or a book to call with you, something like that. Unanswered question is how much will this cost me? This is where pricing will make sense.

[00:24:43] Brian: they've taken time learn what you have to offer, maybe they've watched a full video overviewing your entire process.

[00:24:49] Brian: This is generally where pricing should come up. How long will this take? It's another unanswered question. What's the entire timeline for the process? They'll have niche specific questions. So every, industry and niche is going to have different sets of [00:25:00] questions and needs. And I can't address all those here, but you'll know those better than I will for your specific niche.

[00:25:04] Brian: And then service specific questions. So your service is going to have specific questions around it. And those two things are separate by the way.

[00:25:10] Brian: And when I say niche, I mean like the group of people that you're working with, it could be small business owners, it could be heavy metal bands like my background. But then you have this service you offer within my background music production. It could be photography, but every niche is going to have their own sets of questions and concerns.

[00:25:25] Brian: and every service is going to have its own set of questions and concerns. Next is objections. you've likely heard this before, is this is too expensive. In other words, I'm too busy right now, or this won't fit my schedule, or I'm not sure this will work well for my specific situation. Again, there's some nuance here to the industry or the niche that's going to have some variation here, but these are some of the common ones you're going to see at this stage that's holding them back from showing intent that they want to work with you.

[00:25:48] Brian: Because interest is different from intent. Interest is, I could work with you let's, explore this conversation. Intent is... You're who I want to work with or who I think I'm going to work with, but we've got some things to decide on. That's the next stage. But additional notes here.

[00:25:59] Brian: Let's talk to [00:26:00] this.

[00:26:00] Brian: The sky is the limit when it comes to objections here. This is where you're going to face the most objections and you'll need to become a master of overcoming objections. If you want to close clients consistently, the faster the stranger to client timeline, the more important this becomes.

[00:26:13] Brian: So if you've been friends with somebody for years and then they're showing interest in what you have to offer. That relationship has taken a long time. You've nurtured it. They trust you. They like you. They know you. They've likely seen some of your transformations or case studies from some of your clients.

[00:26:25] Brian: They've likely heard good things about you. So in this case, they're likely not going to have a ton of objections. They might have a few here, but not a ton. Whereas if somebody just found you through a paid ad a day ago, they consumed a video or went to your website or consumed some sort of information somewhere where they're now interested in what you have to offer.

[00:26:41] Brian: They're going to have a ton of objections. They're going to have a ton of questions. so the colder the person is the better you need to be at overcoming objections And this is one of the big shell shock moments that my clients face when they start doing paid ads They start realizing that oh my god, I suck at sales.

[00:26:57] Brian: I don't know how to overcome objections. These are all important parts of [00:27:00] Taking someone from stranger to client objections are merely excuses in their mind as to why they can't hire you and objections have to be crushed if they're not true, if they're true, then objections are simply reasons why they shouldn't hire you.

[00:27:11] Brian: And that's okay. You don't want to work with somebody that you shouldn't work with. But if those reasons of objections in their head false. They are limiting beliefs Then it is your duty to make sure you overcome those objections.

[00:27:21] Brian: So that's stage four is they're interested in what you have to offer.

[00:27:24] Brian: Stage five is they've shown intent. Okay, they know all the nitty gritty details about your service. They know pricing

[00:27:29] Brian: and they've expressed intent to move forward. so now what's our goal or strategy here? We want to politely and consistently follow up until you get a yes or a no.

[00:27:36] Brian: In my past, I have followed up with someone for over a year. before they finally said yes. And that person, surprisingly, thanked me for following up with them for this long of time. think this is a big shift that many freelancers haven't made yet. Understanding why someone would thank you versus tell you to off. Thanks for believing in that, Leland. in most cases, when someone has expressed interest in working with you and you've had the conversation and the no [00:28:00] pricing and they expressed intent to move forward, but they don't. And they're waiting and you don't hear from them in most cases, it's nothing to do with you.

[00:28:07] Brian: In almost every case that I've ever come across, it has something to do with them. And when someone goes to you, AKA they made no decision. If you don't follow up, then that will always be a no by default. So a no decision is a no by default, but if we can keep following up until we get a yes or a no. Then some of those no's that would have been a no no matter what, some of those no's will turn into a yes.

[00:28:28] Brian: And you have no idea what's going on in someone's life. They could be going through divorce. They could be going through health issues. They could be going through a big life change. They might be moving. They might still be working on whatever they need to work on before they can ever hire you. I know in my world, as a music producer the clients had to write music before I could produce it.

[00:28:43] Brian: So a lot of times I had to follow up over a long period of time because I need to get budget or finances in order and or they need to get their songs written and finalizing it. The lyrics written. There's a lot of different reasons why someone might not instantly pay you for your services. And so by following up until you get a yes or no, should be your [00:29:00] strategy here.

[00:29:00] Brian: and even many times when someone says no. It's not a no forever. It's just a no for now. So you also need to follow up with those people at a certain timeframe to see something's changed, some circumstances changed, if their finances in a different position,

[00:29:12] Brian: is their life in a more stable place is their business in a place where they're ready to do this thing yet if you're B2B. so how do we measure this? What do we look at here? So there's kind of two numbers we look at. One is What like raw number of people expressed intent to move forward and then the second is your actual closing percentage of all the people that you've talked to Who has expressed interest what percentage of those people have you closed into clients?

[00:29:32] Brian: So what are their unanswered questions at this point? People that are have shown intent the first question is is now really the right time many times. Like I said, it's not a no It's just a no for now many times Your clients just aren't in the, time of year or the time of life or the stage that they need to be at right now to utilize your services. So that's the first thing is, is now the right time.

[00:29:51] Brian: and this is almost an objection in some cases, sometimes it is the right time and they think it might not be. So some of these unanswered questions, by the way, are veiled objections, in other words. if it's [00:30:00] truly not the right time, then It's a no for now, but if it's truly the right time and they are not sure, then it's your job to make sure that they are sure.

[00:30:06] Brian: And then the next one is, is this really worth it?

[00:30:08] Brian: There will always be the constant battle in their minds of the price to value ratio. What are they paying you and what are they getting for that?

[00:30:14] Brian: And if they're in the decision making process right now.

[00:30:17] Brian: Then they may not have made that decision yet of is the price to value ratio worth it for me, the client. And then we got objections.

[00:30:24] Brian: This is where you should have no objections. Any objections you haven't properly overcome in the previous stage will show up here. Even one unaddressed objection can kill the entire deal.

[00:30:34] Brian: Think about if they think they're too busy, if they think it's too expensive. They think it won't fit their schedule. They think now is not the right time. They don't think it'll work for them or it's the best option for them. If they think someone else is a better option. Any single one of these things will kill the deal.

[00:30:47] Brian: This is where we kind of get to my additional notes here. If you're constantly getting pricing objections or really any other kind of objection, then this is usually a sign that your sales process sucks. If they truly understand the value you provide. Then pricing is rarely the number one objection.

[00:30:59] Brian: And if [00:31:00] you've done your job right so far, all these other objections have been addressed. all this, again, comes down to the sales process. Part of what a good sales process does is it's set up to address objections before they ever become objections. For example, when you're talking to a client for the first time.

[00:31:14] Brian: One of your questions might simply be something like you think it's your business at the right stage to take advantage of this? Or do you think your band is ready for the studio? you think you're truly ready?

[00:31:23] Brian: And this is essentially pulling out an objection that they might already have in their head. And if it's something that's generally true, you shouldn't pursue the sale. If it's truly not the right time or they're truly not ready, you want to find that out as early in the process as possible.

[00:31:35] Brian: And that's part of a great sales process is you're getting to the truth sooner than later. You don't want to get to the end of the process where you've talked through pricing and all the specifics of the project and they're off thinking about it and you're following up then they decide now is not the right time.

[00:31:46] Brian: That means you failed in the sales process because you didn't overcome the objection early on. It didn't get pulled out so that you can address it.

[00:31:52] Brian: And it's the same with pricing. If you're not great at building the value of what it is you offer and showing your differentiators and your proof and your authority, all the things that we [00:32:00] talked about in earlier stages, if you haven't done that part right, then pricing will always be your number one objection and they'll just go with the cheapest person.

[00:32:05] Brian: So now we're on stage six, they're a client. What is your goal or strategy for this stage is ideally you just over deliver when you get a client, especially earlier in your career, you want to over deliver, but at the very least, the bare minimum deliver on exactly what you sold them. on the exact time frame that you committed to,

[00:32:21] Brian: which sounds stupid. Like, Of course, I'm going to do what I said I'm going to do. But you'd be surprised at how, how little that happens. As somebody that has been in the freelance industry for well over a decade now, almost 15 years. I've seen many examples of my peers dropping the ball.

[00:32:34] Brian: I've gotten many a project because my peers dropped the ball and I got those projects. I've also, as somebody who's now. In the education space now, or in the podcast space, and I interview and I see examples of people dropping the ball all the time, not delivering on what they say they're going to do.

[00:32:46] Brian: I also, as someone who's hired many freelancers in my life, I also know that many people don't do what they say they're going to do, or they over promise and under deliver, or they say they're going to do one thing in a certain time frame, and it doesn't get done in that time frame. So just by simply doing what you say you'll do [00:33:00] in this stage generally good enough.

[00:33:01] Brian: How do we measure this? What is our KPI for this? Two numbers. One is number of clients. This is obvious. It's the easiest way to measure people who are in stage six right now, if they're a client. And the next is average annual client value. This is just a good number to track in general for how much one client is worth to you for an entire year.

[00:33:17] Brian: And this is, and it's a number we just advocate on this podcast constantly for tracking. Easiest way to look at this is look at your income the last 12 months. And then you divide the number of clients into that. So if you had a hundred thousand dollars and you had a hundred clients, each client's worth a thousand dollars.

[00:33:30] Brian: Now, what are their unanswered questions at this point?

[00:33:31] Brian: They'll obviously have like a ton of questions about the specific project. And depending on how good your onboarding process is, you can pre address those questions before they come up. So they'd never have questions, but there's two fundamental questions they're going to have deep in their gut after they've paid you.

[00:33:43] Brian: And then you're currently in the project with them. Number one is. Did I make the right choice? there's that little gremlin in their head until the project's done and they've seen the result of it. They're going to be doubting whether or not that they make the right decision.

[00:33:53] Brian: And then the second little gremlin in their head, the unanswered question is, will this be worth it? and this ultimately is answered by how [00:34:00] you show up. Do you do things on time? Do you do things at the quality level that they expect? And is the end result what they wanted?

[00:34:05] Brian: If all three of those things are correct, then they will have known they made the right choice. And they will have said it is worth it, But if you fell on any of those things, if it's not the quality they think, or it might be high quality, but it's really slow and they're, you're dragging your heels and they feel like they have to constantly follow up with you. And it's just an annoying process. any of those one things can still kill this deal and make it so that they never become a repeat client or an advocate for you.

[00:34:26] Brian: So our goal here is to make sure that they are getting to that repeat client and advocate stage. So we need to make sure that they know they made the right choice and that it was worth it for themselves. Now, for objections in this stage,

[00:34:35] Brian: I think I should left this one blank because at this point there are paying clients. So there's no objections. That would make sense. And then, just for additional notes I'm just kind of like driving the point here. The bar is surprisingly low for most freelancers simply because they really are able to do the bare minimum. And the bare minimum in this example is responding quickly when your clients reach out to you, staying on time for the project timeline that you mapped out and delivering what was promised.

[00:34:57] Brian: Those three things are bare minimum. If if you can't do those bare minimum [00:35:00] things, then you're likely not going to get many repeat clients or advocates. And that leads us to stage seven, the ultimate place you want to be. And that's where they've paid you for multiple projects. Or for multiple months, if it's a retainer and or they've started referring clients to you. So what is your goal or strategy here? You want to follow up consistently, stay top of mind and incentivize wherever it makes sense. So following up consistently when a project is done, like in my example, as a music producer, I wanted to follow up before the album was released, when the album was released, after the album was released.

[00:35:25] Brian: Just keeping in touch with like, how's the album doing? How are sales? How are streams? Just staying on top of all that.

[00:35:30] Brian: be invested in the project. Show that you care. If you genuinely care, it's not hard to do. But the benefit of that is, I talked about this last week on those kind of four building blocks. How lead nurturing isn't just a one and done thing. Staying top of mind is a continuous act. It takes energy, but the energy is very worth it.

[00:35:46] Brian: Because when I reach out to clients multiple times over life cycle working with them, and I'm top of mind because I just talked to them, the next time they talk to an ideal client that they can refer to me, That I'm top of mind. So now they're thinking of me when some of [00:36:00] they talk to would need my services on the flip side.

[00:36:02] Brian: I'm also following up 69 12 months later when I know they've started writing or working on their next album every niche in industry is different. But in most cases. You can generally guess when they're going to be ready for your services again. And you want to make sure that you are top of mind at that point.

[00:36:17] Brian: How do we measure this? What's the KPI?

[00:36:19] Brian: There's a few things we want to keep in mind here. One is client satisfaction. And you can do this by

[00:36:24] Brian: simply asking them for feedback afterwards. Some people do a rating scale or an NPS kind of survey if you want to be more formal about it. And truth be told, I actually should just put the client satisfaction one on. Stage six, because this is an indicator of how likely they are going to be to repeat or, uh, refer people to you.

[00:36:38] Brian: But beyond that, you want to know client satisfaction and then what percentage of your clients refer other clients to you or come back to you again. That's an important metric keep track of. any sales conversation, you should be asking the lead how they found you or how they heard about you. So, you know, the source of that lead and then track when those referrals come in and then start figuring out what percentage of my clients are referring me out to other people. And then [00:37:00] what percentage of my clients come back to me again?

[00:37:02] Brian: Two really good indicators of how healthy this part is. And then the last one to look at here, as far as just repeat clients, it's good to know is LTV, lifetime value. It's different from annual average client value, AACV. That's just how much a client's worth over a one year span. Lifetime value is how much is a client worth to you over the life of that client.

[00:37:18] Brian: And that can be years in a lot of cases. However long your career is and however long that client is in need of your services. What are their unanswered questions at this point?

[00:37:26] Brian: Will I lose or gain status by referring people? Think about this. People are not going to refer others to you unless they feel like they're going to gain status. you're going to refer someone any brand or any product, if that product sucks, you've lost status. So if you know that product sucks or they complain about that product, you're never going to refer that product or service again.

[00:37:45] Brian: It's the same for your clients if they feel like they're going to lose status by referring their friends and peers to you They're not going to refer you but if they feel like they're going to gain status, dude, brian was awesome. His studio was awesome He was such a nice guy, which I wasn't I was kind of mean in my studio days That's why I moved to mixing [00:38:00] nobody's perfect But if they have nothing but nice things to say about you And they know that the people that refer to you are going to be taken care of which I did always Take care of my clients.

[00:38:06] Brian: I always made sure that things were on time and on budget and etc, etc Then they're going to refer people to you and you're going to have a high percentage of people that are referred to you because they are gaining status by referring their peers to you. the next one is do I want to go back and keep paying?

[00:38:19] Brian: They're going to keep asking this. If they're on a monthly retainer every single month, they're going to say, is this still worth it to me? Or when the next project comes up, do I want to go back? Is this still worth it? it's a question that's in their head that has to be answered with a yes or they're not going to come back to you and keep advocating for you and keep being a repeat client.

[00:38:33] Brian: Objections at this point,

[00:38:34] Brian: It's, this isn't worth it. That's the only objection that's going to hold someone back at this point.

[00:38:38] Brian: and then finally, my additional notes here, just some final thoughts here on the advocate stage. Most freelancers vastly underestimate the lifetime value of a repeat client and advocate. it can be 10 to 20 times the value of an average client. Or more so think about this for example in my music production business when I was producing bands in the studio An average client might be worth around fifteen hundred dollars to me But I could have one [00:39:00] client that was a repeat client and an advocate that would be worth fifty to a hundred thousand dollars To me and that's not just repeat client work They would come back to me again and again and again over years They'd get signed they'd actually have budgets that come back to me great, but they'd also refer Tens of thousands of dollars of other clients to me through their lifetime.

[00:39:15] Brian: So thinking through the true lifetime value, including referrals of one person, who's an advocate and a repeat client. It is a huge number. So those people you should do whatever you can to take care of those people. You should do whatever you can to make them feel special. They should be hearing from you for every holiday.

[00:39:33] Brian: and I'm not even great at this either, but I'm just saying. If you can make them feel so damn special because they are to your business.

[00:39:40] Brian: So that is the Complete Client Journey. Again, there's a blank copy here. You can fill this out for your own business. The description of every stage specifically for your business. The goals and strategies to get people to the next stage How you want to measure the KPI specifically for your business.

[00:39:52] Brian: The unanswered questions that your specific clients have. Your specific clients objections for that stage. And any additional notes that [00:40:00] you have on that?

[00:40:00] Brian: My camera's about to overheat Don't ever buy the sony a6700 It came out in august of this year I bought it like the week it was released And I can barely get an hour out of it before it starts to overheat And i'm an hour nine minutes into this recording edit it down because i'm not smart And I'm not good at recording, it'll probably be under an hour because there's a lot to cut out in these episodes.

[00:40:20] Brian: But don't wrap this up, but I will say client journey mapping the stuff out is a really helpful process for fully understanding and visualizing what it is you're trying to do when you're nurturing leads. That's why I put this as the episode two in the series. Next week we'll start to talk about some of the specific strategies around pushing people through each of these phases.

[00:40:35] Brian: This is a lot of great stuff on knowing. What to do, but next week we'll get into like the how to do some of these things. So I think that'll be helpful for you. And that's either going to be one big episode or maybe a couple of small episodes where we'll focus specifically on each of those little strategies that are in there.

[00:40:48] Brian: and as of right now, I'm still in Nashville, but we will have been uh, putzing around Peru. this episode airs on,

[00:40:54] Brian: I believe November 14th. So my birthday's in a couple of days, November 16th. So wish me happy birthday on November 16th if [00:41:00] you're around. And we will have just gone through last weekend Machu Picchu. And uh, we are probably, if my best guess, we're probably in Pisac, a little hippie town.

[00:41:07] Brian: My wife and I, it's one of our favorite cities in the world. It's called uh, Pai. It's in Thailand. It's a little, small, hippie mountain village in the northwest Thailand. and so we heard that Pisac is similar to, it's like a hippie small village in the mountains in Peru.

[00:41:20] Brian: So we're gonna go check it out and see if it's anything like it. I have my doubts, but I will know by this point that this episode airs if that's the case or not, and I will surely talk about it. On any episodes I record while we're in Peru, but I love hyping these trips up because one of the biggest joys of traveling and doing locations like this where we're still traveling and we're still working but we're getting to see the world, one of the biggest joys is just the anticipation of having these trips come up, something to look forward to.

[00:41:41] Brian: So if you don't have a trip scheduled, there are some super cheap flights right now. I don't know if it'll still be the case in mid November, but as of the time that I've recorded this episode, which is October 27th, just a few days before Halloween, there are like flights all over Europe right now from Nashville for like 500 bucks roundtrip Barcelona There's a non stop London from Nashville [00:42:00] for like 500 bucks, which is crazy from New York and get your flights to Europe for 400 something you can have stopovers in Iceland for free like there's crazy travel bills right now, so If you have the ability to pick up and work abroad, it can be really, really fun.

[00:42:12] Brian: I actually even have a full episode on our YouTube video. We'll put it in the show notes link six figure creative. com slash two eight two where you can also get the link to this worksheet from this episode. We'll put the a link to the video where I talk through traveling to digital nomad, the budget involved, how we booked the flights, how to do it as cheap as possible.

[00:42:27] Brian: I did that video for, I believe when we went to Southeast Asia and. We spent like three grand for a month of travel. I forget the exact numbers. That's for two people, by the way, but these sorts of trips can just be fun, a good change of pace. And I highly encourage them, especially if you can work from your laptops.

[00:42:41] Brian: So that's all I have for today. We'll see you all next week. Thanks for sticking around for such a long episode. Let me know your thoughts on this episode. Email me podcast at six figure creative. com. Let me know if you like this kind of like worksheet workshop type format where I have like resources for you to look at and things to fill out.

[00:42:55] Brian: This is helpful to know if I should even do these again in the future. This is a lot of work to prep this stuff and get it all out there. But[00:43:00] that's all I have for you. Thanks so much for listening to the Six Figure Creative Podcast.

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