Most web designers, based on personal experience and a decade in the industry, are so focused on GETTING CLIENTS that it becomes the majority of the work you do outside of fulfilling projects.
But no matter how hard you work at getting and landing clients, if you can’t provide an amazing experience for them, you’ll struggle. And you’ll always find yourself in feast or famine mode, hustling and wondering when the next wave of clients will come.
While there are a lot of solutions to this (including providing an awesome service, building recurring income, etc) one key aspect that’s not widely talked about is making an amazing client experience.
In the latest podcast episode, Sarah Newland of KeyboardSmash.net shares her top tips for creating an amazing client experience and strong pipeline of clients by organizing the processes, sequences and operations in your web design business.
I can’t wait to hear how this one helps you focus in on YOUR processes to help take your client experience to the next level!
P.S. Just wait to see how many organic referrals a great client experience leads to 🙂
In this episode:
00:00 – Introduction
03:10 – Greeting to Sarah
08:03 – Diversify or simplify
12:17 – Wasting money on shiny
15:19 – Learn self-awareness
19:58 – Advocating software
21:13 – Monitor the pipeline
24:31 – Filtering clients
26:39 – Tracking always
28:46 – Follow-up importance
31:14 – Do something different
34:46 – Deadlines and pricing
37:00 – Too much communication
39:27 – Boundaries
42:51 – Keeping leads
48:59 – Email marketing or CRM
50:28 – Tags on email list
55:50 – Top process categories
59:31 – Choose the tools
1:01:41 – Final thought
Connect with Sarah:
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #208 Full Transcription
[00:00:00] Josh: Hey friends. Welcome in episode 208. I’m so excited in this episode to dive into a topic that is not widely talked about, especially in web design, it’s kind of a two in one type of topic we’re gonna dive into here.
[00:00:13] Josh: Essentially. We’re gonna get into how to create an amazing client experience from start to finish and subsequently how to build a pipeline of clients that keep coming back and back and back to you. So you don’t have to have such a feast and famine approach to web design. For this chat, I’m so excited to bring on somebody who has a really cool online brand.
[00:00:35] Josh: This is Sarah Newland, who you can email@example.com. I love that name. And Sarah was great because Sarah is somebody who thrives on systems, operations, processes, and all the things that creatives hate to hear. I know, I know those of you who are, you know, the artist and the creative, you hear process, you hear system, you hear operations and it makes you a little queasy, but it’s so important.
[00:01:01] Josh: If you’re gonna run your business and you’re gonna make a really good client experience. But she has a lot of unique ex uh, perspectives on this kind of stuff, because she is so deep into this world of really good systems and operations. So I was really excited to bring her on, to share some of what she’s learned and what she helps her clients out with to help you.
[00:01:19] Josh: Because I learned this from experience very early on, as a web designer, there’s nothing worse than hustling to get new clients and focus, you know, being focused on sales and just trying to get new clients, but then you have a terrible experience to back it up because that does not lead to referrals that leads to either lackluster or unhappy clients, which you do not want.
[00:01:41] Josh: I just, I think it’s really important to mention this before we dive in, because so many of you are probably trying to sell way before you’ve crafted your entire client experience. And I understand you wanna make money as quick as possible, but you have got to back it up with an awesome client experience.
[00:01:57] Josh: So this episode with Sarah, I think, is really gonna help you get the foundation of that. And then if you are ready and you need help to create a full. Amazing client experience from start to finish. I wanna make sure, you know, that is why I have my web design business course. My business course is the entire experience from start to finish for clients.
[00:02:18] Josh: And that course actually includes my entire SOP of my client roadmap. Every step from beginning, when they’re a lead to becoming a client, to getting started, to onboarding, to project management, to offboarding all the things are included in my web design business course, that’s available for you right now.
[00:02:35] Josh: You can go to Josh hall.co/business. If you’re interested in diving into that, I would love to help you refine your client experience. But to start this episode should give you a really good foundation to, to get going. And Sarah was awesome. We had a really good, really good chat and I really enjoyed having her on.
[00:02:50] Josh: So I’m excited for you to see what takeaways you have. So here you go. Here’s Sarah let’s talk, client experience, client pipeline, and all the things in regards to operations and scary corporate speak for you creatives. All right, let’s dive in.
[00:03:10] Josh: Sarah welcome to the podcast. Thanks so much for taking some time to chat today.
[00:03:15] Sarah: thanks for having me love it. I love our British connection.
[00:03:18] Josh: I do. I, I love the Brits. I have to admit, I, um, we have a mutual friend in Adela, ma who’s been on the show before. She’s, uh, one of the most active members of my web design club and she was like, you gotta talk to Sarah.
[00:03:31] Josh: I think you guys would hit it off. And, uh, I checked your business out. First of all, I love your business name, keyboard smash.net, which I highly recommend everyone checkout. Um, but it sounds like you’ve got a lot of perspectives and experience just with kind of like online digital business in general.
[00:03:48] Josh: And there is, I think a load of topics we talked about getting into, but what I’d love to kind of hone in on that, we really haven’t talked too much about on the show so far is when you’re starting out in business and you know how to build a pipeline of clients, but also what, what to watch out for, with like expenses, which I found that most people just, you know, they don’t talk about it too much. So I’m super excited to chat about this with you.
[00:04:12] Sarah: Yeah, I think like some of nearly, nearly five years in business. So it’d be five years in October. So we’re in, what are we in July at the minute? So upcoming five years. Um, yeah. And I’ve just, I’ve talked to a lot of business I’ve worked with and talked to a lot of business owners in that, in that time.
[00:04:28] Sarah: Um, and I feel like I’ve just collated this like encyclopedia of, of, uh, of knowledge, um, About all things kind of, I mean, I say, but I was gonna say basic basic business, but I don’t want that to sound like that it’s then only for people that are early on. Mm. Because the advice that I give to businesses that are, yeah, five, same as me, five, six.
[00:04:52] Sarah: It’s still, some of it is, is maybe, you know, basic business stuff. It doesn’t mean that it’s basic just for new beginners. I think that anyone can take something, um, from it.
[00:05:02] Josh: That’s a great point. That’s a really great point. Yeah. Especially when it comes to like looking at your books and your expenses. A lot of times, some of the most seasoned entrepreneurs, I find need to strip it down to the basics and look at like, okay, what’s going out, what’s coming in. And, and we have a tendency to make things more complicated pretty quickly. Don’t we? Yeah.
[00:05:21] Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. And I hope like one of my, one of the services that I still offer now, I called it business audit, like desperately trying to find something more sexy. So if anyone can come up with a, a nicer name for it, but it’s like the service that has been in my business from the beginning. Now, obviously it’s kind of changed.
[00:05:38] Sarah: And the, like the advice that I give and I, I now offer, offer it to bigger businesses as my business is grown. But it’s exactly that because you can’t see what’s, what’s the phrase. You can’t see the label when you’re inside the jar. Yeah. You can’t see there’s all those phrases in there. Um, you can’t see what’s going on when you are inside your business and it, you know, it can easy even on, even on a discovery call, I can come in and, and I’ll just go, oh, like why, why are you using those two pieces of software?
[00:06:02] Sarah: What, what do those two pieces do? And the person often goes, oh yeah, yeah. We, we probably don’t need both of them. Actually. They’re doing a similar thing, but you know, you’ve been looking at it day in, day out, and you haven’t necessarily seen that. That’s because it’s your business and you, you know, it’s hard to ask those questions of yourself.
[00:06:19] Sarah: Um, But I did actually post on this about LinkedIn today. You can ask yourself that, but you know, you can ask yourself why, you know, why am I using that? What’s the purpose of that quick, you know, quick, a quick, um, list of exactly what that piece of software you might be using. I dunno, you might be using air table and you might be using click up.
[00:06:36] Sarah: Yeah. Two kind of, they cross over, they have different that they do have different tools and offer different things. But when you write down exactly what you’re doing on both of those pieces software, you might think actually there’s quite a lot of, there’s quite a lot of overlap there, you know, could I actually just integrate all of that onto air table then you, you know, you can get rid of a subscription.
[00:06:57] Sarah: So it’s, it’s, uh, it’s actually, you know, tangibly money that you could be saving, but also like the time, the time and effort flipping between two systems, you know, and asking teammates or collaborators to, to skip between two systems.
[00:07:10] Josh: So it’s good point. Yeah, I was just thinking like, that’s the danger with having a lot of different systems is it’s really hard to find it all in one solution for everything, especially for web designers, as far as I don’t know of any system that is the perfect, like invoicing proposals, contract, project management, like there’s really, there’s, there’s a couple IPS together.
[00:07:32] Josh: I always use base camp for project management, then 17 hats for all of the invoicing and stuff. But I still had a very, very light suite of, uh, platforms and subscriptions compared to most web designers. I knew most people had like 10 different platforms. I’m like, first of all, it sounds intimidating, sounds confusing and complex.
[00:07:53] Josh: And those subscriptions do add up don’t they like nine bucks a month here or there that can, that can add up, especially when you’re just starting out and you gotta be as, as thrift as you can.
[00:08:03] Sarah: And I think like one of the main. Uh, questions I filled off with, and this especially happens with people who may be trying to like diversify their, um, their service suite a bit. Maybe they’re looking at introducing like a, a low cost membership or, or some, some, you know, an evergreen, something, this may, you know, that this is often when this question comes along, but I do get it from other people as well.
[00:08:26] Sarah: But they might go, oh, send this all in one piece of software or, you know, I’ve sit like, oh, there’s certain, you know, it looks like bit like click up. Yeah. As a project management. It looks like on the sales pages pages that is doing 50 different things. Well, it is doing 50 different things, but do like, do you need all those 50 mm-hmm like, do you really need all of those? Are those required in your business?
[00:08:48] Sarah: So after people come to me and they go, oh, I’ve, I’ve seen this, I’ve seen this software. Like, it looks really good and it’s only X, you know, X dollars a month. And again, it’s like that question. Like why, what, what, what exact, what is the exact gap that you are trying to fill? Yeah. Is it just one or two of the things on that list, in which case go to what you are already using? Yeah. Go and look at your, the list of software that you’re already using in your business because often more after, than not, like I can suggest free.
[00:09:16] Sarah: Especially, if you are trialing a service out for the first time, I always go free. If you’re, if, if it’s the first, if, if the service hasn’t been, uh, like validated yet, in terms of like, if you haven’t got people through the door on it yet always try free, cuz you don’t know what’s gonna happen. You don’t know what the users are gonna need too many times.
[00:09:34] Sarah: If I send people, spend a lot of money to, to, you know, implement software, to service something. So I’m not talking about, you know, there’s certain software, you do need to get a job done. Um, but yet a bit like project management, you were like, oh, this will be great because my clients can log on and add their, add their, this, that and the other.
[00:09:51] Sarah: And for you, it’s like sounds excellent. But your clients, you might get your clients might never use it because for them that’s not the problem that they’re trying to solve. So. I guess it’s like, what exactly like always look at start and we’re free, especially when you’re starting out, which seems obvious.
[00:10:09] Sarah: Um, but often we can be wooed a bit by the sales pages. So I always a vibe black and on black and white. So obviously written down or, or on paper. Exactly what do you need from the software? Yeah. What, what are, what the actual requirements that you need. Yeah. And then, you know, it might be that it needs to have an app. Cause I work on the move a lot. Yeah. It needs to have an app.
[00:10:32] Sarah: It needs to integrate with this piece of it needs to integrate with Google mail because I use Google mail. Yeah. Whatever those exact requirements are. And then. Then find the software that fits or take a look and it might already be in your, in your suite.
[00:10:46] Josh: That’s a big one. You may already have it in something. And what I’ve found as a web design coach and as a web designer of, of decade plus is our biggest challenge. As far as business owners, as web designers is to avoid the, the shiny object syndrome. Mm-hmm that is the biggie, cuz it’s like, oh, well. I’m using Asana, but like this other platform, maybe a little better, a lot of people are using this now.
[00:11:10] Josh: And there is a time I found to pivot. Like when I upgraded to base camp, I was a little leery about it at first, but it ended up being really good for my business. But a lot of people were doing things just in Trello or just in Asana or different platforms. And it can be fine. Like what I’ve found is whatever works for you, as long as it’s working and working.
[00:11:30] Josh: Well, just stick with it. As long as you can, you’ve got to avoid looking at these other options that come up the, the shiny object syndrome, because it is real. We get FOMO a lot. Or we get a little jealous when somebody else has a cool new toy. And then often let me blow your thoughts on this. Sarah, have you seen a lot of times people shifting platforms too early, whether it’s project management or whatever, and it being really costly because suddenly you change everything it’s costly and time initially when you migrate everything over, but then it’s costly to learn something it’s costly to get all your systems reset up.
[00:12:05] Josh: And then sometimes if you decide to scrap that you just wasted potentially hundreds of hours, maybe on something, have you seen some situations like that with business owners where it’s just, they, they switched and maybe they shouldn’t have.
[00:12:17] Sarah: Oh, yeah. Like it, it, it makes me a little bit teary and also it it’s a bit awkward because they’ve come to me for their advice and I’m like, oh, how much did you possibly you paid a VA to, you know, you might have paid a VA to set it up for you as well.
[00:12:33] Sarah: So there could, there could be actually, you know, a, a money cost in that way, or you’ve paid upfront for year subscription because the, you know, it’s, it’s cheaper. Right? Uh, yeah, I’ve definitely seen that. Um, I don’t like to see it. I hope that I can catch people. E like often I have a power. Someone might invest in a power hour with me just to pick, like, to pick my brains on that.
[00:12:53] Sarah: And like, I’ve had a good few, a good few, um, power hours where people have specifically said, but this is not a promotion for against software that I’m talking about in here is all completely specific on your business. Sure. So they’ve come. And they said, um, I’m um, I’m thinking about, uh, getting Kartra.
[00:13:11] Sarah: yeah, it looks really good. It’s got loads of things that I need. I need to pay payments. I want to start a mailing. I want to start a mailing list, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s got a calendar. So a card is $99 a month. So, so that’s, that’s a lot of money for someone who start, you know, for who who’s early on in, in business mm-hmm
[00:13:29] Sarah: And the problem is unless that you are actually already earning enough from the services you’re gonna pay Kartra for, unless you are already earning that $99 a month, then you could just as easily do that somewhere different. And, you know, for example, you could take payment directly from a Stripe page.
[00:13:51] Sarah: You can, you can run a membership through a Trello board. You could, you know, look, there’s all that you can use. Mail Chi uh, mail Aite for free. Like, these are all ways that you, and yes, it’s not integrated, but unless you are launching your, you are launching a membership. For example, mm-hmm with 500 subscribers straight away.
[00:14:11] Sarah: You probably maybe get like 10, 15 people, you can do it all through those platforms and then upgrade when you’ve got the money to do it. But yeah, I do see it. Uh, I really hope I catch people before it happens.
[00:14:22] Josh: A couple great, a couple great lessons already there catching peop like, and I think this is where a lot of folks who maybe early on in the journey need to hear this is kind of a forewarning. Like you are gonna be tempted to change all of your, your subscriptions, your platforms, especially I coach web designers and we’re using different tools and themes, whether it’s WordPress and like a lot of my students use divvy and then elementary looks of interest. They get into elementary and then they start using oxygen and other page builders.
[00:14:48] Josh: And now suddenly they got like five different builders, which can also be tricky because if you’ve got five different tools that are essentially getting the same result, it’s, it’s a lot to keep up with. So I, I love some of the early lessons we’ve already kind of hit on, cuz it’s really important, especially early on to just hear that you gotta be kind of we talked about, I think before we went live being self-aware what, what’s your thoughts about being self-aware about yourself when it comes to like the shiny new object syndrome and, uh, catching yourself before you get into unneeded expenses?
[00:15:19] Sarah: Yeah. It’s definitely something I’ve learned. Oh God. Because I like, I love look big part of what I do is like looking at different software for different clients. So like I’m the shine, you know, it it’s real. Um, yeah, it all comes back to like the time investment and the money investment for me. But in terms of the awareness, it, I dunno about you, but I do feel it is something that you learn as you go, you know, no ones born, self aware. It’s something that you learn and kind of comes, it comes hand in hand with entrepreneurship.
[00:15:48] Sarah: Yeah. Like as you run your own business, you have to put yourself out there. You, you know, situations happen, you get feedback. You have, you have to become like emboldened to that being, being a business owner. Um, For me, I am I’m self-aware now because I’ve, I’ve been in business for five years, but it’s, it’s about, it’s about having that, like I’m I like a process.
[00:16:10] Sarah: So I was like, I’ve just talked, I talked a little bit earlier on about that list. Yeah. That kind of like have that list. If you know, that you are, that you are likely to, to go on app Sumo and kind of jump on board with the, with the next kind of, um, shiny, shiny, uh, software that’s out there. Go back to the strategy of like, right I know that I’m likely to do that. I know that I’ve got loads of time right. At this moment.
[00:16:34] Sarah: So I feel like I’ve got the time to put in, but knowing that, just go back to that, like go back to that list every time you wanna get a bit of software, like have, it might not be the list for you, but have that one thing that you go back to every time you think that you want a new bit of software that may or may not be essential, like go back to like go back to the list.
[00:16:53] Sarah: Or, or another strategy, but going back to that and being like, I’m gonna start there. because I’ve been bitten before or Sarah told me, so I’m not gonna do it.
[00:17:02] Josh: Well, that’s actually a really great point, too. It’s much more important to have a process outlined to see what result you want to get. And the figure out the reasons why you need to do something and then you can find a software to, to fill in all the gaps. Because I think a lot of people tend to dive into different subscriptions and softwares first and then yeah, that dictates their process. But what a great valuable lesson, a lesson, whether it’s actual process of like in, in my case, building websites and launching sites and all the different things that are involved with that, or just from a business perspective, like how you’re gonna manage products or projects, clients, any sort of email marketing, like figure out your processes and have those in place.
[00:17:46] Josh: First, which side note, which is why I have my courses for everybody. So you can just take those, you don’t have to figure out yourself and then figure out what service or softwares you need to fill in those gaps. I I’ve never really heard it articulated like that, but I think that’s such a valuable point because that will help save you all of the things we’re talking about, because you can see like, okay, here’s what I need from point a to point B.
[00:18:09] Josh: Okay. So I’m gonna do email software, project management and the tools to, you know, do the websites and you can get the bare bones. Like I totally agree. Start free where you can, then you can always upgrade or piece together, some free, like a lot you can do so much with Google docs in spreadsheets that can take so much away from project management software is potentially at least in the early days, and then fill in the gaps as you need to. I love that point.
[00:18:35] Sarah: But you know what, like the, we’ve talked a lot about project management software, just cuz those are the examples that have like sprung to mind probably. Cause I’m changing my own project management software. So it’s front of mind.
[00:18:46] Josh: How timely.
[00:18:47] Sarah: Yeah. Takes longer than you think. Um, But the, the biggest problem that people, well, I think this is twofold. This problem, the biggest question people have for me in terms of what, what should I use for this is, uh, what CRM should I use?
[00:19:03] Sarah: Mm. And the problem they have, the, the reason why they can’t solve that problem themselves is cuz they don’t know what their customer journey process is. So that’s not to say they don’t like they’re doing business. Yeah. They know they know what happens, but they don’t kind of, they don’t write that out.
[00:19:20] Sarah: You say like I have a call, but O on that call, I really need to get this information deadline, what software they’re using. You know, if we’re talking about, say the website at this point, I, I have to have that information. The reason I need that information deadline is so that I can, I can plan my schedule so that when I send them a proposal on the proposal, I can send them I can send them when I can get it done by.
[00:19:44] Sarah: It’s mapping out though, all those date. Data points within the customer journey so that, you know, because only once you know that process, can you look for a piece of software that fits that? Yeah,
[00:19:58] Josh: that’s a great point.
[00:19:58] Sarah: Um, and that’s why I don’t advocate taking, um, uh, I, you’ll never, if people tag me in, they’re like, oh, Sarah people don’t do this anymore cause they know what I’m gonna say. I’ve got a bit of recommendation for a bit of software for this person that might happen on Facebook. And I’m like, I won’t do it. I won’t, my integrity won’t allow me to just go, oh yeah, you could try, you know, here’s an affiliate link for a bride mind because without, if it’s not an industry that I’ve, you know, industry are different.
[00:20:26] Sarah: Yeah. So if it’s not an industry that I’m. You know, a hundred percent, no, or could confidently say, but equally the nuances of a business might mean that they, you know, that it doesn’t work for them. So kind of like the CRM, the CRM is like one of the biggest things that people ask me, what CRM should I use, but equally don’t know the process.
[00:20:48] Sarah: So that’s the problem you’re trying to solve, solve your customer journey process. Then you are then finding a CRM, CRM, excuse me, will be easier. But also the, the mistake that people are making is not using a CRM. So even if you can’t find a piece of software, so CR CRM, meaning customer relationship management software, if as a mouthful, it is essentially a way to monitor your sales pipeline.
[00:21:13] Sarah: But the biggest mistake really that I see people making is they’re not monitoring that pipeline anywhere. So Don don’t let the lack of software stop you monitoring. Yeah. Even if you write down everyone, you’ve sent a proposal out to on a bit of paper, do that. Yeah. Because our memories is not as good as we, as we hope they would be.
[00:21:33] Josh: Great point. Great, great point. So monitor either way, whether it’s on paper in a Google doc spreadsheet, or if it’s ideally in a, some sort of CRM, a client relationship manager fit, definitely organize your clients, have some sort of pipeline. I’ve learned early on . I teach this in my business course, but categorize your clients between leads before they become clients.
[00:21:57] Josh: And then also you have to categorize your clients too. You have to, I’ve learned to have like the, a clients, which are your best ones, your B clients, which are pretty good. And then you C clients, which you could live without. Um, that’s actually at least to a question I wanted to ask you, which is what is, would you say that a CRM is the most important piece of software that is often the thing to invest in.
[00:22:18] Josh: Just because that’s, what’s, you know, managing your, your leads and your clients is, I guess my question would be what is like the most important piece of software that you generally advise people invest in?
[00:22:31] Sarah: Um, well I just definitely definitely use a CRM, so, and I, I, I don’t feel like you necessarily have to invest in it. So I know that was kinda like parceled up your question, but all, I, I guess if you are managing one to one clients and it’s just you, so potentially you’re only gonna have a few people in your books at any one time. Yeah. So as in the, the quantity of people you have, it’s easy to manage those things manually.
[00:23:04] Sarah: Yeah. Mm-hmm, , you’ve got one contract. Yeah. One contract to send out once every few months, one, one, you know, one invoice. It is easier to manage that, man. It’s all about priorities. Yeah. Again, back to the like, Don’t pay for the a hundred pound bit of CRM a month. If you only have one new client every few months.
[00:23:22] Sarah: Yeah. It doesn’t financially. Doesn’t add up to where you are at. Um, start investing in that when you have a broader product suite or you have more people in your team, which means you are delivering more, you know, there’s more going out the door. Um, and I only say from the point of view of like overwhelm, you know, do everything at the point when it needs to happen.
[00:23:41] Sarah: It’s, it’s okay to do things manually. If, if it, if at your point in business, you don’t need to focus a hundred percent on automating mm-hmm . Um, so that having been said, a CRM, even if it is a spreadsheet, it’s not the best place for it that is 100% the only bit of software you need to be using. If you don’t have clients, if you don’t Mon, if you’re not monitoring your leads anywhere, if you’re not following up with your proposals and inquiries, you basically don’t have a business.
[00:24:13] Sarah: So the CRM whatever you wanna call it pipeline sales plan that is the only thing that you need. Um, I don’t want that to be a barrier. That’s why I, I joke about just having a bit of paper, even if it’s a bit of paper, I’m not suggesting that’s the best way, just that do do what.
[00:24:31] Josh: From the very, you’re totally right from the very start I learned, there is a bucket for like, well, before they even become potential leads, there’s qualified leads or questionable leads, like some sort of funneling system before they even get into my system. Because I don’t want the tire kickers who are just not gonna be a good client, uh, especially earlier on it’s you wanna take on everybody.
[00:24:55] Josh: But I’ve learned you gotta be a little, you gotta start weeding them out and filtering them out as quickly as possible. But then the task becomes their leads. Okay. They’re leads every person that fills out the contact form, who wants to get a proposal is not gonna be a client you’re never gonna close a hundred percent. You don’t wanna close a hundred percent. Your rates are probably too low if you’re doing that.
[00:25:14] Josh: So then it becomes like. Leads that are hot and that you wanna follow up with and actually convert or leads that may potentially be in, in the bag for, for later time. But storing those leads, I think is what you’re getting at is crucial. Like where are you gonna, you know, like have a database for these people. I love that you said that because what I found is that I would send a proposal. And often I would just not hear back now. Some clients would be like, yep, looks good, Josh, let’s move forward.
[00:25:44] Josh: Awesome. They’re my client because I didn’t have that many in the early day. Like you said, I didn’t really need to have a big flushed out system because it was kind of dangerously. It was kind of all in my head in the beginning, but I could manage 12 clients. I knew all of them. Wasn’t a big deal. Once I got past like 30 clients, then suddenly I was like, oh, I need to upgrade. I need to have like a database.
[00:26:03] Josh: So I started using MailChimp to email them 17 hats to have my client portal and. Contracts and stuff and so on. But in the early days, it definitely became apparent to me that I forgot about the people who I sent proposals to and never heard back from. And I probably missed out on tens of thousands of dollars because I just sent a proposal, never heard back and never followed up.
[00:26:26] Josh: And what would your encouragement be to somebody who was like, well, I already sent the proposal. I don’t wanna nag them. I don’t wanna be a bother to them. What, what would you encourage them with? Uh, yeah. Be curious to hear your thoughts on that.
[00:26:39] Sarah: I’ll go a couple of great I’m I’m laughing over here cuz I’m like, you’ve just said so many like great things there. Like it’s so easy to fall into the trap of oh, you know, I’ve only got, you know, there’s, there’s only a few, I don’t need to. It’s just me. There’s only a few people in my world right now. Start logging ’em now like just it’s don’t don’t feel like just cuz you’ve only got three proposals out and two clients that now’s not the time to track it.
[00:27:04] Sarah: Before, you know, next week it could be double that. Yeah. You could get a couple of inquiries on LinkedIn, start tracking it. Now don’t wait until it’s like too late. Don’t wait until you miss a ball, basically. Yeah. Even if you just write those five names on a spreadsheet that like that’s better than you like waking up at midnight and scrolling for your inbox to remember the name of that person you sent that 10 grand proposal too, or whoever it is.
[00:27:25] Sarah: Um, sorry. Get very passionate about that examples. Um, oh yeah. So, oh, oh, for following up on a proposal and not, um, and not wanting to as yeah. Yeah. You had so a couple of things I’m like, I don’t have a hard and fast ball, you know, I’m not a sales coach that says, oh, you yeah, wait three days and then chase up and then wait four days and then call.
[00:27:45] Sarah: Yeah. Your business is your business. And, and you have to do things in a way that you are comfortable. But all I say is that twice recently I’ve contacted and so say like I saw an event on, um, Uh, like an event on, um, Facebook and it, uh, no Instagram and it was for the next day. So I couldn’t, I couldn’t actually go to it.
[00:28:04] Sarah: And I was like, oh, that’s a shame. I wanted to go to that workshop. So I said to the person, will you be running this workshop again? And she went, oh yeah, I run it every two months. And I said, can you tell me when it, when the tickets alive? Cause I’d like to come and she went, yeah, yeah, I will. Now I obviously completely forget about this because you’re busy.
[00:28:21] Sarah: Yeah. I’m, I’m just cracking on with my life. What happens two months later? No word of a lie. Two days before the event, I was like, oh yeah, that, that thing’s run in on. I wanted to go to that. She’d never messaged me. Gotcha. I, as far as I’m concerned, Firstly, she could have sold a ticket to that. And secondly, I was kind of annoyed cause I wanted to go, thirdly, she would’ve made me feel really special if she’d remembered me.
[00:28:46] Sarah: So you are not pestering people. You’re actually just, it’s all about helping at the end of the day like that. But I actually, you know, I had expressed an interest in the same person that if you have a, in the same, if you have a discovery call with someone they’ve expressed an interest in you. Yeah. Like they they’ve asked, they’ve asked for your help.
[00:29:05] Sarah: Um, yeah. And I did a similar thing recently when I was like, look, I’ve had this one session with you. I’ve expressed an interest in more, which is sort your life out and can tell me how I can work with you. Yeah. I work with you. So this is me on the client side. Like not, everyone’s obviously like banging down your door, but don’t feel like you’re harassing them. Yeah. It’s more about like how you can help them.
[00:29:29] Josh: I wanna. Yeah.
[00:29:32] Sarah: That much, that they won’t even respond from a discovery call.
[00:29:36] Josh: Yeah. I really wanna ask you like how much is too much. And I, like you said, there’s no exact proven, you know, sales pipeline, like wait two days in email, wait, two more days in email then call, like, I’m sure there’s a, in a lot of business books, I’m sure there’s plenty of advice and conversion stuff on that, but yeah, you’re right.
[00:29:54] Josh: It’s an organic method. But I will say before I ask you that I just went through this recently because with my family recently moving, like I got fence quotes and there were, there was one fence company that sent a proposal. I never heard back at all. I ended up going with a different company. Now I may have gone with them had they reached out a few days later and be like, Hey, just wanted to follow up if you have any questions, let us know. But the other company was just more responsive in that early stage.
[00:30:20] Josh: So I think this is where. Having some sort of system in the beginning when you’re nurturing those leads, of course you can automate it and scale it up moving forward. But initially you have to over, would you agree with me, Sarah and saying you have to overcommunicate in the process of your leads and following up with them, especially after proposals.
[00:30:42] Sarah: Yeah. So like, it’s almost like circles background to self-awareness. Like, if you are aware that this is like this, that you find this whole SA sales thing, icky, like, but be aware of that. But equally, like you gave the example there, you know, we are joking about two days, email, two days email. The biggest bit of advice I give about that is we all see all this, all these quotes about, you know, attention span is seven seconds. Someone has to see our content 365 million times before they’ll buy from us all, all that kind of quite scary stuff for small business, um, owners.
[00:31:14] Sarah: So, um, I, I will email after I’m emailing the proposal. Yeah. Because it’s attached via PDF or whatever, but yet don’t, if you don’t wanna get on the phone, not, but do something different. Yeah. Go and message them on, go and message them on LinkedIn. Mm that’s good. Go and comment on their go and comment on their story.
[00:31:35] Sarah: Like don’t, you don’t need to necessarily force it, but do something different, especially if it’s, you know, it’s their preferred, um, their preferred platform for communicating. Yeah. Now I always see this as this is a 50, 50, a good thing about digital and bad thing. It means that we have to respond in lots of different places.
[00:31:57] Sarah: Our, our brains can, you, you know, are split in lots of different places, but in the good way, it allows us to do, allows us to do business in different places, you know? Like, but in, in your, you know, we’re talking about that customer journey process. If in there you can ask where someone’s, preferr how someone’s preferred, where communicating is.
[00:32:18] Sarah: Because I think early on in business, I just, you know, I would’ve just assumed because I was less aware, you know? Well, I like communicating on email for example. Yeah. Therefore everyone must like doing that. Well, no, like someone the other day was like, can you text me? I’ve I’ve ended up using the phone more. Cause I know that people pick up the phone, like I’m, I’m doing more of what the client wants, because if I get a response in that place, then that’s a good thing.
[00:32:43] Sarah: Um, So not being afraid to kind of branch out yeah. To branch out. If they haven’t responded to email, they haven’t responded to email. I, you know what, everyone’s email boxes are completely full up. Can you do something different? Is there some other way that you can reach them in a NA you know, in a natural way?
[00:33:02] Josh: I like the idea of branching out. I do. I, I’m very conflicted with having business stretch across multiple platforms, just because, oh, thank you.
[00:33:11] Sarah: I, it makes me very uncomfortable, but.
[00:33:13] Josh: That was one of the, the burnout. I, well, not in a burnout point, but I got so frustrated because I had communication on Facebook messenger and LinkedIn at one point, and then people were texting me and then I was like, all right. I can’t, it’s just too many different places. I don’t wanna be on a walk with my family and my clients texting me about that issue with their website. Like I had to learn to kind of reel all that in
[00:33:36] Sarah: I call the proposal the winning stage. I do not advise that clients.
[00:33:41] Josh: Okay. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:33:42] Sarah: When, when we’re working together, we communicate in, in the, in the allocated place. Yeah. Well
[00:33:48] Josh: that idea though, of even branching out and just even mentioning it, like you could always funnel people back to email or back to wherever you’re talking. Just mention, I do like the idea of being present elsewhere. One thing I’ve learned too, and a lot of the benefit of using a software for like a proposal, for example, is most of them now will show if they’ve been seen. So that’s also really beneficial. Yeah. Like I remember with 17 hats once I found out that, oh, I could see when they, they viewed this.
[00:34:15] Josh: So I could just ask and say like, Hey, I saw you viewed the proposal. Let me know if you have any questions. That’s really beneficial. Additionally, I’d like to hear, I think before we went live, we were talking about how you and I found out that we like deadlines and we need to have deadlines to get something done.
[00:34:31] Josh: Um, that’s also a benefit with a proposal. Yeah. Is if you give them, like, this is valid for 30 days, you can kind of schedule the, the follow up sequence to that. Do you have any thoughts on that? About having like a, a proposal that’s has a deadline to help you follow up?
[00:34:46] Sarah: Yeah. Well, I think, um, it just makes business sense that you have a proposal deadline because prices changes. prices change actually saw quite a funny LinkedIn post on this the other day where someone was saying someone had returned after a year and ex you know, and said, oh, I I’d like to go forward now. And they were like, oh great. But it’s just, my prices are this now. And they were surprised. And I was like, blindly, we’re talking about a year, you know, like and what happens to business.
[00:35:07] Sarah: And someone gave the example where, uh, someone had asked for the prices to be after four years. And I was like, wow. I mean, so for, just from a business set business protection point of view, I’d always advise that you, I, yeah, 30 days, you know, just say prices are valid for 30 days. The other thing that I do, um, from a deadline point of view to help me is I, I look at my depending what the service is.
[00:35:32] Sarah: Like, I look at my availability and it would’ve gone from what we’ve talked about on the call. Yeah. We might have, if we’re talking about our one day process audit for a business, we’ve had a little chat about. What’s going on in the team diary. Yeah. So on that email I’ll I will always give availability of when I can start, which means that for me, I’m, I’m not holding the time at all.
[00:35:54] Sarah: I’m not putting that aside of my diary. I’m just, I’m. I’m I’m placing that in their brain. It’s like we can get started on this work in that time. So it gives me and them a deadline. So I, I do it in, in that way as well. The deadline and the proposal I find is more just like a protection point of view.
[00:36:11] Sarah: Yeah. But the deadline, when I can, that’s the one that I, that helps me to stick to it. Cause I’m like quite if I wanna, if I wanna win that work and get that money through the door, I. I’m gonna have to chase up on them. Cause I said, I can start on Monday.
[00:36:23] Josh: yeah. Good point.
[00:36:24] Sarah: That track I need.
[00:36:27] Josh: That’s a great point into it. And that kind of leads me to the question. I kind of round about hit a little bit ago, but I’d love to really get your idea on, and that is how much is too much when you’re following it when you’re following. And that was on me. I kind of redirect us, but I do wanna make, I don’t wanna, for anyone who was like, ah, I wanted to hear about that.
[00:36:44] Josh: Um, how much is too much? I always felt like three follow ups more often than not. I know some situations might be a little different. I’m sure it’s not a question where there’s an exact formula, but I always felt like three is generally enough. What are your thoughts on that? Yeah.
[00:37:00] Sarah: Um, it is interesting because I, I did used to do everything on email and I would’ve gone with two for, um, I, no, I would’ve gone with two follow ups, reasonably close together as in like week and then, uh, sorry, you know, like one week and then a couple of weeks after, um, And then I would send, and then when I’m doing like a review of my pipeline, I would go back after about three months.
[00:37:23] Sarah: Yeah. So you might see that as two or, or three, but that’s about what I would do. So over the course of like two, three weeks, I would do two follow up. And then if I’m, I would be doing like a big review of everyone in my pipeline that hadn’t ever, that hadn’t converted. And I would, I would be happy to contact them if I hadn’t heard anything, um, after three months. um, that feels like, that feels comfortable to me.
[00:37:49] Sarah: You know? Like that feels like a comfortable level of kind of bit since. Um, and this is just in SPO for me, it’s in response to the marketplace. I used to do everything on email. The reason I’ve diversified that. Cause I very much hear what you were saying in terms of like, I can’t be having everything in all the different places. I’ve just found people’s attention span is like, and people’s overwhelm is, is real at the minute.
[00:38:13] Sarah: So I found that contacting them where they are is, is more helpful to them just in that proposal stage. Um, so since doing that, I would have more touch points. That like I found that there are more touch points, but they are less, those ones are less structured. They’re not planned. I don’t go, you know, I’m not going to LinkedIn. Gotcha. Specifically to find that person to write something useful. It’s just that I happen to, I happen to see their content.
[00:38:39] Sarah: So I do write, you know, so those are more natural touch points, but the more formal follow ups. Yeah. I would say that three over, you know, initially, and then over three months.
[00:38:50] Josh: Gotcha.
[00:38:50] Sarah: Yeah. And that makes sense too, as far as like, You know, kind of hitting people up in different spots or connected with them elsewhere when you don’t have a large amount of clients, like that’s the beauty about web designers. We don’t need that many clients to create a six figure business. So it’s manageable.
[00:39:07] Sarah: But like you said, I, I actually, I still BA I, I back you up in saying that in the proposal process and the getting to know you phase it’s okay to branch out and connect with ’em where they are. But definitely once the project gets going, you gotta gotta reel that in and make sure yeah. Make sure they don’t get too comfortable deeming you on, on Instagram when it comes to actually working together.
[00:39:27] Sarah: No, I mean, yeah. And the way, way I kind of deal with that is like, so I I’ll run every I’ll run every one, all my clients speak to me via my project management software. Mm. So most clients. In who I’m working with will be using Trello because it’s a low barrier to entry, but like for kind of consultancy work, but , they kind of like, cuz people often say, oh God, how do, how do I make that transition?
[00:39:52] Sarah: Like it’s a bit awkward. You know, they, they keep on emailing me essentially, if you, if you, if you ask me something on Trello, I respond to you straight away. If you send me an email, I might respond after three days because my inbox is overwhelming and, and I don’t like to respond in that way. So it actually takes me longer.
[00:40:09] Sarah: So quite, and when I’m, um, when I’m mentoring VAs, this is often a problem that VAs have. Yeah. That sure that the clients are messaging them in lots of different places. And I just say, once you break it down and you can do this, you know, for yourself and your own business, once you. When you are like costing up your services often you’re costing up like how long it takes you to do the, to, to actually do the kind of like web design work.
[00:40:33] Sarah: If you are dealing with a client who insists on messaging you on lots of different platforms and you have to spend time like reading that, bringing it into the project plan. Yeah. That’s, that’s actually additional time that you haven’t costed for in your, in your project. You kind of imagine if you added that time on what the client might say about you go, oh yeah.
[00:40:52] Sarah: And here here’s the fee. And then this is the fee for communication time because you didn’t, you know, obviously you wouldn’t say this directly, but because you didn’t kind of stick to the, my process, right. When I say this to VAs, I’m like, how long does it take you each day to take a look at your text messages and put all those, put all those actions , you know, on your to-do list.
[00:41:11] Sarah: If that takes you 15 minutes a day, that means you’re charging your client over the week. You’re charging them an extra X amount of time. Therefore it’s not serving them. It makes it easier to change when you see how. Um, like following these kind of like those loose processes, as in communicating lots of different places, how it act like that actually impacts your bottom line, right?
[00:41:32] Sarah: Yeah. It’s a waste of your time. You haven’t counted for that in your costing. Um, so that can be kind of like a prompt to help you bring it into one more streamlined place.
[00:41:43] Josh: I love that. I love that. I am curious too about like Le leads fascinate me because once you’ve got past the first filter where you figure out, okay, they’re, they’re a qualified lead. They could definitely, you know, they might be a good fit for us. We might be a good fit for them. Yeah. But again, you’re not gonna land ’em all my next question is what are your thoughts on how long we should keep a lead in our system?
[00:42:08] Josh: Like, do we just add them to our email list, our CRM, and then just keep on email ’em every time we do an email and then if they went unsubscribe fine, or do you like, do you recommend dropping a lead after a certain amount of time? Because the reality is somebody may not be primed to buy initially, but maybe they’ll buy like next year if, if we stay top of mind. So, yeah, I guess the I’m kind of curious on your thoughts on how long do we nurture a lead and keep them in our system, whatever that system is.
[00:42:36] Sarah: Yeah. I mean, this is it. Like we, we’ve got, um, we’ve got the old GDPR in Europe. Not that we are part of Europe, but we are under that, uh, under that.
[00:42:44] Josh: Where are, where are you? Are you in London or no,
[00:42:47] Sarah: Bristols Southwest.
[00:42:49] Josh: Okay.
[00:42:50] Sarah: But yeah.
[00:42:51] Josh: Gotcha.
[00:42:51] Sarah: Yeah. Um, so, and this sort been a spanner in the works really? Because yeah, ideally you would just it’s it’s not fair on small business owners. Yeah. Cause we are the sort of people that aren’t abusing people’s data for the, you know, for the most part. Um, but yeah, I, in an ideal world, you would’ve, you, you would just automatically put someone on your Maness.
[00:43:12] Sarah: Now this, this two different things here, there’s your sales pipeline, which is. Um, yeah, which is the people you are hopefully gonna have conversations with and you are you like, that’s your sales pipeline, people you’re talking to and proposals and, and that kind of work your main and missed is like, those people may never buy from you.
[00:43:33] Sarah: They may just like reading your con, like they they’re two different spaces in a way, ideally people, well, certainly under GDPR, people have to sign up to your mailing list. But as far as possible, you give the opportunities when you are getting this list of criteria. When people sign up and they fill in the form to have a discovery call with you, that they can tick the box and they can join your mailing list.
[00:43:55] Sarah: So you catch them in more places. This is important because when we’re being talking about this, um, messaging people on different platforms and whatnot, I’ve been having converse. I’ve had a discovery call with someone I’ve sent them my initial chase of email. I’ve sent them the second chase of email.
[00:44:12] Sarah: Nothing then they’ve because they’ve been on my mailing list, they’ve received my weekly email and they’ve messaged back to that email to say, oh, I be meetings get back to you this, oh, this really, this is exactly what I needed to hear this week. Can we go ahead with the X, Y, and Z?
[00:44:31] Josh: So the, so the email, like your, your general emailing could be a part in the proposal process to help convert them.
[00:44:37] Sarah: Yeah. And, and that has like, that has happened. Yeah. So I think there’s this idea that you, I dunno, the whole mailing list, uh, thing can be quite overwhelming. Oh, you need to build a mailing list, you know? Yeah. I’m not saying you don’t need to, but there’s lots of way that ways that that mailing list helps you, you know?
[00:44:56] Sarah: Yeah. If you can sell to it, but when you are not directly selling to that list, it’s still build, it’s still building that communication with your business. It’s still, even if people don’t, um, read it, it still lands in their inbox. They might just. They might just, they they’ll just see your name. That’s another of those 365 million touch points that we talked about.
[00:45:15] Sarah: Just see, good point, you know, another place where they see you, even if they don’t read it, it prompts them. It reminds them. Yeah. So yes, definitely. As far as possible, if they, uh, exp if they express, if they’re in your sales pipeline, ideally they would also be on your mailing list. It just for the U for the UK, we, we just have to be a bit more careful about, um, data
[00:45:38] Josh: Sure, sure. Well, that’s, that’s becoming more and more apparent globally as well. And I think a lot of things are gonna change over the next, probably good year onward, for sure. But I think over the next year, we’ll see a lot of changes as the GDPR and privacy stuff kind of extends out to, to other countries.
[00:45:55] Sarah: But I, it is a great thing, but like, don’t let it, don’t let it scare you off. When it came in in 2018, everyone was like, oh, I’m just gonna close down my maiden list. I said, we don’t need to do that. Don’t need to do that. You you just have to check that people are on it legally.
[00:46:12] Josh: Yeah. And, and common sense. Common sense would say like, if I send a proposal well, and the client’s like, we’re moving with somebody else. Thank you for your time. More often than not, I would just remove them from the email list. I mean, there’s probably a point to where it might be nice to have them on the email list in case they wanna follow and then eventually move forward.
[00:46:31] Josh: But, um, are there situations where you feel like if somebody says, no, they should just be completely outta your system?
[00:46:38] Sarah: Yeah. Sorry. So we’ve been talking about the mailing list. Um, but I don’t ever take anyone. Um, um, like the mailing list is one thing. Like people, if people wanna unsubscribe from kind of my general marketing emails, they can do that on, on every email, um, in terms of my CRM.
[00:46:56] Sarah: Yeah. If they’re no, like, I, I keep people, I keep like, it’s like my address. So there’s the address book and then there’s the deal. Yeah. Like the, the actual work that we’ve discussed, like connected to the. I keep them in there. I, unless they explicitly said, unless I’d annoyed, annoyed them enough, that they explicitly said, I don’t want hear from you ever again?
[00:47:17] Sarah: I would delete them, but for the most part, I like, I, I want them in there cause I want to see, I want to see historical data of how many people have converted. How many, how many leads have converted? Yeah. How many proposals have convert? Like I don’t want to take that out.
[00:47:33] Josh: Yeah. Okay. That’s cool. That’s a good point. That’s a good, good way to frame that. Yeah.
[00:47:36] Sarah: Ideally I would leave it in. Yeah.
[00:47:38] Sarah: Okay. I like that. Um, yeah, cuz again, they, they could, they could always unsubscribe, which makes sure if anyone’s listening and emailing one matter if you’re using convert kit, MailChimp, whatever, you have to have unsubscribe in there as an option, uh, that is,
[00:47:53] Sarah: think can actually set it up now. Would that like it’s so built into the software.
[00:47:57] Josh: Yeah. I, I think tech, well, I’ve got some that don’t have an unsubscribe option, um, from random companies. So there, there’s probably a way to like take the, the code out, but yeah. Yeah. Like, like I said, usually it’s by default, it’s in the footer, but yeah. Yeah.
[00:48:11] Josh: Um, so that’s, that’s to say anyone could unsubscribe, but it is worthwhile knowing and just to track your leads, it’s good in your conversion. It’s good to know how many leads you had this month or this quarter and how many converted, et cetera. I’m I’m curious. Do you feel like there’s a differentiation between.
[00:48:29] Josh: Because I’ve always heard CRM as kind of this all encompassing term for email, but also a client portal. I find that there’s a very big difference between managing your clients by emailing them with like MailChimp versus storing their information and like a client portal, which is for me with 17 hats. Do you feel that those are kinda one or that there are, is there is a difference between like email marketing versus a CRM or is, is CRM encompassing of email marketing as well?
[00:48:59] Sarah: Um, to me, they’re diff they’re, they’re quite different. Um, a like the CRM, um, whether that include like 17 hats, excuse me, 17 hats includes your proposals and your invoice for you. Yeah. It includes all those things. Yeah. Yeah. It, uh, like mine doesn’t. Yeah. So mine is just like monitoring of my sales pipeline.
[00:49:23] Sarah: For me, the CRM. I know everyone in it. I know the, like, I know the names that are in it. I’ve spoken to lots of people. Cause they’re part they’re already like moving through, but I, I know who they are. Yeah. Because it’s, where’s the mailing list people have got themselves on there themselves. Um, I don’t necessarily know who they are. I don’t necessarily know where they, they all came from the people, um, who in my sales pipeline. When I go in, I might know it in my head, but I also know it from going in. I’m like, oh yeah, that was a referral.
[00:49:58] Sarah: Oh, I met that person at networking. Oh, that person commented on a LinkedIn post. Oh, that person, those PE there’s. I know the link there. Whereas the, for the mailing list, I can see how they got into my list. What, um, download, uh, what form they signed? Uh, they signed up on or what, uh, lead magnet they downloaded. I can see that, but I don’t necessarily know that person. Gotcha. Yeah, like new to my business.
[00:50:28] Josh: I will say a super, super valuable tip. I wish I would’ve heard early on is, and I know tagging can be a little complicated and overwhelming in some systems, but have a couple different tags for your email list to where you have people who signed up and are the randoms.
[00:50:45] Josh: You’ve got people who were leads, but didn’t follow up or didn’t, you know, move forward. And then you’ve got your actual client list. Those are so important that way you can distinct or, you know, differentiate your emails potentially because if you wanna email your current client list with a special deal or a promo or a new service, you don’t necessarily wanna offer that to everybody.
[00:51:04] Josh: So that’s one of, I learned that big time as a chorus creator early on, as I was like, oh, I need to make sure I don’t email this to everybody. This should just go to my students. I have a very complex set of tags in place now with different courses and levels and stuff, but, um, for the basic web designer and business owner, those three, just the, the main email list, the general list, you’ve got your leads who, you know, came to the door, but didn’t move forward, but still might be primed. And then you’ve got your actual client list. So what are your thoughts on that with TA making sure that you have somehow you have your leads categorized and tagged?
[00:51:38] Sarah: Oh yeah. Like, um, just, I remember having a conversation with, um, like a coworking space and that they’d EPA knew and it was the January before cOVID right. Yeah, January, 2020. When, where are we? January, 2020. And I remember having a, a chat with them about the system, cuz I was one of the first to use it, like booking into the space and whatnot. Um, and just naturally I was interrogating them because I wanted to know how it worked. And I was like, oh, so there was a box about like, like you’ve missed an opportunity there.
[00:52:07] Sarah: Yeah. You could like add, add a box there. She was like, oh, well we’re not really planning on marketing. And I said, oh, what about if you wanted to contact everyone because you were closed everyone that might book in. And she was like, oh yeah, like, yeah, well it doesn’t really seem like something we’d need right now.
[00:52:23] Sarah: Well, like we probably just messaged them or learn behold three months later they had to close. And I just always remember it, like if they’d had this well, firstly, they would’ve been, you know, they would’ve been asked to contact everyone without ticking their box, but I know that they didn’t have a central central list, but just imagine if they knew that they were gonna have to close.
[00:52:41] Sarah: Cause the COVID obviously we all got those millions of emails from right. They could have just gone on to MailChimp and gone. Okay. Everyone that’s ever booked on, we need to send ’em a quick email and say really, sorry, we’re gonna be closed. We look forward to working in you back soon. Yeah. Whereas they would’ve had to send out an individual email and I know cause I received it to say, you know, because they didn’t have that list in one place.
[00:53:04] Sarah: So that is, and that would’ve gone to tag him because they would’ve had people that, uh, were just interested in marketing. And then there’s people who have actually booked before and are like, you know, regularly attending the space. Yeah. Um, yeah, it’s all about, you know, even before you get down to anything more complex to like, um, segmenting your marketing messaging, you know, to say I have, I want to know when a VA joins my list.
[00:53:32] Sarah: I want to know whether they’re new to business, whether they’re a couple of years in, you know, I want to know their level as it were, because I have different services that will suit VAs at different levels. Yeah. So that’s like more complex segmentation before you even get to that like, I want to know if they’re a VA, I want to know if there was a service based business or, but yeah, definitely get some, some basis of tagging in place.
[00:53:55] Josh: This conversation has it kind of helped me visualize the, what I would consider the three main like buckets of client relation and everything from when they become leads and then become actual clients and then hopefully you can nurture the, that relationship with them at scale eventually when you have more than a dozen clients or so, and that can turn in a more repeat business.
[00:54:21] Josh: To me, it is some sort and, and maybe the terminology might be a little bit different, but some sort of client relationship manager, which would be like some sort of client portal where you have all your client details that can, for me, 17 hats, it includes invoicing, proposals, contracts, and all that.
[00:54:38] Josh: You can do questionnaires, all the good stuff, but that is different from project management. So I would consider. Number two, being a project manager that you actually keep all communication and everything centralized and something. Yeah. Asana is great. You mentioned Trello, which is kind of a task manager, but I know a lot of people use that as, as project manager.
[00:54:57] Sarah: There’s no barrier to entry, so
[00:54:59] Josh: yeah. Yeah. And then the final piece is some sort of email system, like some way to continue to, to, to contact your leads and your current clients and keep them engaged. The email so the CRM would be the initial process and, you know, the, the client pipeline aspect. And then of course, as they move forward, project management is during a project, but the email piece seems to stretch throughout everything it’s like in the beginning, you can keep them on your general list.
[00:55:28] Josh: And like you said, have more touch points, but then definitely for follow ups and ongoing relationships. Is that, is that kind of fair to say that those are like the three main pieces when it comes to client pipeline and client management, and I know we’ve kind of gone in and around different aspects of, of having a client pipeline, but is that kind of the way you see it as well? Or is there another piece that I’m missing?
[00:55:50] Sarah: Yeah, no, totally. I think, um, Yeah, that is that that’s totally it like one of the, like one, I know one of the things that, like, I don’t use 17 hats or like another, um, similar one to that is Dodo. I know one of the things that people lament is that those software don’t have, um, Or like project management tool in them.
[00:56:12] Sarah: And I’m like, well, no, because it’s, it’s not related to the customer journey. You know, like it, it shouldn’t go in there, like don’t try and overcomplicate it, complicate it because people are like, well, the only two bits of, um, the only two bits of software you need in your business, but they that are saying that they need project management software and client management software. But no, you definitely, the email marketing is the one, it, those are the three. Yeah. Short.
[00:56:36] Josh: And I, I just wanted to kind of clarify that because after this whole conversation, I, it just kind of became apparent to me that when somebody is especially early on or their experience and they’re reevaluating all their, their subscription stack you, I, I definitely feel like you’ve got your processes for all these different things.
[00:56:54] Josh: And then the software that you could have really, I found three, three main softwares that take care of all that. MailChimp is what I use for email 17 hats for invoices, proposals, client management. And I always use base camp for project management, but there’s tons out there. Asana is a great option. And even for email, there’s a bunch of free options. Uh, I think MailChimp is still free right now up to like a thousand context.
[00:57:19] Sarah: Yeah, I probably wouldn’t advise it on the free plan though. It’s quite you can’t yeah. Pretty limited. It’s very limited in what you can do. Gotcha. I would advise mail light on the free plan. There’s there’s a lot more scope in the free plan.
[00:57:31] Josh: Gotcha. And yeah, as far as the CRM itself, where you’re managing your clients, you’ve got I 17 hats, dub Sodo is a big one. Um, my agency right now is experiment. what’s that
[00:57:42] Sarah: honey book is quite
[00:57:43] Josh: a big one. Yeah, honey, honey, book’s a huge one. Sweet dash is what my agency is, is using right now. It’s got a little more functionality than 17 hats, but like you said, to be honest, I know everyone wants an all in one solution, just like I did, but the problem that I’ve found with all in one solutions is that they’re not very good at all the different things.
[00:58:02] Josh: So it’s like, they’re okay at a lot of different things, but like the CRM may not be great. The project management may, may really not be great. And the email function may be really limited. They may be limited on, on tagging and stuff. So I personally think, you know, you could do a lot of the most important thing is to have your systems in place for all these three categories.
[00:58:21] Josh: And then you can always, like, we’ve talked about this entire conversation, start free or start cheaper, start monthly, and then go annual or go up, you know, update as needed. Um, that’s, that’s really what I learned in my journey in regards to client pipeline, client relationships, and retention and all that jazz.
[00:58:41] Sarah: I completely agree. Like don’t, don’t jump. Don’t feel like you need to jump in to page straight away. Like everyone would be like, well, the, the paid tools are better. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. They have more, they have more functionality that doesn’t mean they’re better for your business and you don’t really know until you get in there and try and see what you do like, so what you don’t like.
[00:59:00] Sarah: You know, things, change things, change with how you run in your business, things change with the services that you’re running. Um, it’s I think there’s this, um, there’s this idea that like, you need to make a decision, um, because you, you’re never gonna ch that you don’t wanna change.
[00:59:16] Sarah: Uh, sorry, just the, you are, if you are in business for the long haul, things are gonna change. You are going to want to change because new software will come out. The software that you are, you are with might not move with the changes they might go. Like it, it’s just inevitable that you are going to have to change.
[00:59:31] Sarah: So don’t feel like that you are kind of in it for the long haul and also with the all in one software. If you do change your mind, it’s if, if something really goes drastically wrong, because there’s a real deal breaker that they don’t include, that you’re gonna need. It’s a lot to move. It’s a lot to move away from when you are all in on one piece of software, rather than spreading the light.
[00:59:54] Josh: That’s a great point. It’s kind of funny that in the beginning we talked about the danger of changing softwares, but this is a really good point that you do need to make sure the softwares that you do invest in evolve and change with the times. And this obviously for, I, I preach this with web designers, but the choose the, the tools you choose to build websites and to build your business on.
[01:00:14] Josh: It’s so important that you look at the company and the community behind it, to make sure that it is something that is gonna be around for the long haul and. I don’t, I can’t, there’s none that come to mind. I mean, I know a lot of hosting companies that have gone down downhill, I don’t know about project management, software CRMs, but a lot of these companies do get bought and sold and then they change dramatically.
[01:00:36] Josh: Like to be honest, I use learn dash to build my courses. Um, I’m still, I’m kind of keeping an eye on things. I’ve been really happy with learn dash, but they recently that the owner stepped down, they got new management and then that guy stepped down. So I’m like, I’m, I’m slightly leery. I kind of wish I, if I, if I would start today for anyone curious, I would go with lifter LMS.
[01:00:58] Josh: I’ve been really happy with learn dash if they’re listening, but I am a little bit leery about the ownership changes. So I just say that to say it’s really important to look at the company as a whole too, right? Yeah. And
[01:01:09] Sarah: I just think it’s that, like you, you know, you made, you made that decision based on the best of your knowledge and what you wanted to pay, you know, all of that, that one time. You know, you can foresee that change. Therefore, I guess what I’m it’s like, it is inevitable. The change will happen. So don’t feel like your decisions are for life. Um, just even more reason to like dive in, try try the free ones, you know, see how you get on like give it enough time, you know, don’t don’t change every, every month.
[01:01:41] Sarah: Cause it doesn’t do one thing. Obviously. Do you do do your due diligence with the list that I suggested, you know, get dead clear on what your, if you’re looking at your CRM, get dead clear on what your journey is. So you know what you’re looking for. Um, but yeah, things are gonna change. So just get in and try
[01:01:59] Josh: Yeah. I love that. I was gonna ask you for kind of a final thought as we put a cap on this conversation, but that was it. That was a great one. That was it. That was a great, great final thought. Uh, Sarah, this has been awesome. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you. Where should everyone go to find out more about you?
[01:02:13] Josh: Um, your website is keyboard smash.net, which again, I love your brand. Is there a certain resource or a freebie that you’d like people to, to go to or, yeah. Where, where would you like people to, to connect with you and go to next?
[01:02:26] Sarah: Yeah, I, um, I really just hang out on LinkedIn now. So do come over connect with me, se send me a message. Cause I like, I, I actually like to speak to people on social rather than just, uh, be there. So if you come and follow me, cause you’ve listened to hi to this, do let me know. Um, pop me a message. Um, and on my website there’s a page called help yourself. Um, and that’s got free stuff that you can help yourself to, to, and, um, There’s a few things on there, I believe.
[01:02:58] Josh: Okay. I’m drawing these links down. We’ll make
[01:03:00] Sarah: sure it around regularly. So I’m not sure. I can’t remember exactly what’s on there at this point. And maybe when you’re listening, it’ll be different. Um, but that’s where I put all my free stuff that you can help yourself to.
[01:03:10] Josh: Okay. Awesome. We’ll make sure I’ve got these jotted down. So, uh, I’ll have my VA Kam put these in the, in the show notes, uh, at, at this post. So everyone can check that out and definitely connect with you on LinkedIn. I’m kind of curious, what are your thoughts on LinkedIn? Uh, just, I was gonna ask you this after we stop recorder, but why not share your thoughts with everybody?
[01:03:28] Josh: Um, LinkedIn seems to be like where like professionals are still hanging out at, which is, I imagine why you’re down with taking private messages there. What, uh, what are your thoughts on LinkedIn right now? Just the, the vibe and landscape of it.
[01:03:41] Sarah: Yeah, it like it’s, this is a good time to ask me cuz what I decided was in, in April. So it’s. Three months. I was like, I’m gonna go all in on LinkedIn because Instagram has changed. I’m very happy to do video content. I love talking like, but I’m just not getting what I like. I’m all about hanging out where I’m having the best time. Yeah. Like where I go to networking meetings, which, uh, some of them are kind of like more global, but often they’re like more local online and in face networking.
[01:04:09] Sarah: That’s where I go for business. And I like doing that. Cause I like talking to people. I like meeting people. Um, but I just kind of like, the love was falling out of it for me on Instagram. So I thought, well, I’m gonna run LinkedIn, Instagram alongside. I’m gonna, I’m gonna go all in on it. Yeah. I’m gonna. And, uh, and I’ve been really enjoying it.
[01:04:25] Sarah: I’ve found that there’s a lot for me. There’s a lot more scrolling on Instagram now and not as much conversation.
[01:04:31] Josh: Mm good point.
[01:04:33] Sarah: Visual business. Yeah. I I’m, I, you know, it’s a service based business. Um, it, I don’t need to visually be selling any products and. But what I find on LinkedIn is that there’s lots of conversation. Yeah. So it’s not like people are all up there kind of constantly selling their stuff at you, but it is. It’s interesting. I’m always learning something. I read post. I make a con, so there’s conversation in it for me like the social part of social media. Um, obviously you get all the kind of like rubbish that you don’t necessarily want to read. That swung it, that swung it for me.
[01:05:05] Josh: Um, that’s a, that’s a really interesting distinction right now between Facebook or, uh, Instagram and, and LinkedIn, for sure. I totally, cuz I’m not active on LinkedIn at all right now. Um, but I could definitely see, I feel like if I, because my model right now, or is coaching and, and web design students, I’m much more focused on Facebook where a lot of web designers still hang out in Instagram.
[01:05:26] Josh: Yeah. However, if I was working with small businesses as a web designer, I would 100% be on LinkedIn. That would probably be my main thing. What, what are your thoughts on Facebook? I, I like the difference that you mentioned between LinkedIn, cuz it seems like Facebook or LinkedIn is kind of what Facebook used to be. That’s kind of the way I picture it right now.
[01:05:45] Sarah: Yeah, I like this all comes down to like your per, like personal preference. Isn’t it? Like if you’re going to spend time on a social platform, you’ve got to want to spend time there before I started my business, I I’d closed my Facebook account down. I reopened it because, um, lots of things happen on face.
[01:06:02] Sarah: You know, I’m in pay communities that, that are, uh, run through Facebook. So like I have to be on there, but it’s, it’s not a space that I, um, I like to, to go to and spend time on. I find it very distracting as much as I try and curate my feed so that I don’t get stuff on there that triggers me or bothers me or affects me. It still comes up.
[01:06:24] Josh: So it’s inevitable.
[01:06:25] Sarah: Yeah. So I, for me, it’s not a space that I kind of like to, I have always dabbled in my mind. I’m like, mm, I can’t, I can’t push myself to be there. So I’m not saying I never will, but for, for me now I’m enjoying LinkedIn. So, and it’s all about priorities. Yeah. It’s all about. You can’t be in all the places. Yeah. We have only got a certain amount of time to market ourselves, do our business and run our lives and see our families. So I’m doing, like, I do one thing. So in terms of like advice, it’s like do the one thing, you know? Yeah.
[01:06:58] Josh: That’s great. Another great, another great final thought from Sarah. A final, final thought.
[01:07:05] Sarah: yeah. I just say like scheduled content. Really? I dunno about you, but scheduled content really stands out. Yeah. Yeah. So I’m not saying don’t schedule your content, but it’s always really obvious if someone is just churn out scheduled content, do you have to be able to mix that up with with, you know, with genuine posting, you know, see, and you can’t do that across lots of platforms.
[01:07:26] Josh: So that’s a good point. Oh, see, now I’m ready for round two to talk about social media marketing a hundred percent. Yeah. Uh, also I was really trying to think through what the heck we’re gonna label this episode, but I think your LinkedIn cover creating brilliant customer experiences for your clients. I think that’s gonna be the title. Cause that kind of encapsulates all the things we just talked about.
[01:07:46] Sarah: That covered all the things haven’t we all, I covered it.
[01:07:48] Josh: Yeah. yeah. Cause I mean we talked expenses starting out customer pipeline, but it’s really, it’s really all about the customer and that experience. So yeah, Sarah, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for your time. I know it’s getting into dinner time there in the UK. So, um, wanna thank you for your time. Thanks for coming on and for sharing all your thoughts on this. I’m I’m definitely looking forward to a round two. If you’re done for it in the future.
[01:08:10] Sarah: Yeah, I loved it. Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’d love to talk about all things, customer experience, all things, customer Jenny.
[01:08:18] Josh: Beautiful. All right, Sarah, looking forward to talking soon.
[01:08:21] Sarah: Bye.
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