- by Don
Using the right tools can save you time by simplifying your tasks. The right tools can also make it easier for you to recruit and support customers, which makes you more money.
But using the wrong tools can cost you time and money, and even drive away potential clients. Here are three common mistakes that are easily corrected by using better tools:
Many coaches ask their potential clients to fill out an “intake” form before having a sales conversation. There’s nothing wrong with that, and in fact it can be an effective way to help enforce your Red Velvet Rope Policy. If a potential client won’t fill out the form, she likely won’t put forth the effort required to fully benefit from your services.
However, this screening should be related to your services and not to other factors. For example, asking your clients to download a form, fill it out, scan it, and email it back may be turning away potentially great clients just because they can’t figure out how to scan the document in order to return it to you.
This process can be greatly simplified using minimal effort and technical skills. For example, you could use online forms or services such as Google Docs. If you’re willing to make a larger investment, you could create fillable PDF forms that can easily be filled out on a computer. Both of these solutions eliminate the laborious scanning requirement.
For my coaching agreements, I use HelloSign, which allows clients to fill in and sign the forms online and sends completed forms directly to my Evernote account.
Mistake #2: Making it hard to consume your services
Many new coaches are concerned about their clients sharing handouts, videos, audio recordings, etc. This fear can lead to complicated systems that make it difficult to consume your material.
The sad truth is that if someone is determined to pirate your Intellectual Property, they can and will. I believe you are better off making it easy for your clients to consume your services and trusting them to protect your intellectual property. Your coaching agreement can include prohibitions against sharing, and in the worst possible scenario, you could prosecute them if they do pirate your information
I’ve subscribed to many online programs, and I enjoy being able to download the files and play them on my phone while I’m in the car or working out. If it is inconvenient to access the material (for example, if I must be online to listen to recordings) I’m much less likely to actually listen to it.
Using a membership site makes it easy to restrict access to your content. Once your clients login to your site, however, make it easy for them to consume information. That way, they’ll get the most benefit and will be more likely to recommend you to their friends and colleagues.
Mistake #3: Making it hard to pay you
I used to find it incredibly difficult to navigate the customer portal for one of our local hospitals. After receiving a bill, I would login to their website and spend what felt like hours trying to figure out how to pay. I would eventually give up and wait for them to call and threaten to turn my account over to a collection agency. Then I’d say as politely as possible, “I’m sorry. I wasted a lot of time trying to pay on your website, but I couldn’t figure it out. As long as we’re on the phone, can I just pay you now?”
You can easily set up methods to allow your clients to pay in less than a minute. If you use PayPal, you can send a PayPal Invoice, which includes a payment button. For recurring payments, you can create a payment page that includes the PayPal signup button.
By the way, that hospital has since updated the portal and added a large “Pay Bill” button on the main screen. When I click that button, I am shown a copy of the outstanding bills and given the option to pay them. So now I login and pay my bills as soon as I receive them.
Solution: Use the right technology
As shown in the above three examples, avoiding technology (or using the wrong technology) can cost you clients. When you find your ideal clients—those clients who energize you, excite you, and bring out your best work—make is easy for them work with you.
If you struggle with your technology, watch for my upcoming free webinar. I’ll show you three inexpensive and easy-to-use tech tools that will help you get Booked Solid®.
Have you had experiences with businesses whose technology make it difficult to do business with them? If so, please leave a comment about it.