If bookings are slow for you — whether you’ve been in business for years or weeks, I’m sharing with you four important questions to ask yourself as you examine the situation and strategize what to do next in your business! Three of the questions are strategic, and the final one (worth reading to the end) is a heart check question with some encouragement because I know when you’re not booking clients, it can be hard emotionally.
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1. Ask Yourself: “Where in the process are the potential clients ghosting me?”
Look at your workflow and what's happening in the process based on potential clients who have come through and have not booked with you. Ask yourself where in the process they are ghosting you. I know sometimes potential clients write back and tell you why they aren't booking with you. If so, that is a great data point. However, more often than not, people go silent, leaving you to wonder what happened.
You could have a great discovery call or receive an enthusiastic email from a potential client, but you never get a response after writing them back. People don't typically tell you why they quit the inquiry process with you.
This data will show you where in the process this drop-off is happening at a micro level. Get out a sheet of paper and go inquiry by inquiry. If you're using something like Dubsado, you immediately see who filled in your contact form and what happened through the process. On the other hand, maybe someone fills out the contact form, you reply to their email, and they don't respond. In that case, look at the email, and see if there are any things you can improve. A huge mistake I see people make is not having an auto response on their contact form. (Learn more about how to stay top of mind to a potential client here!)
People reach out and forget that they even reached out to you at a certain point. So you need to make sure you're responding on time.
More possible things to look at include your pricing and discovery call process. Are people reaching out but ghosting you when they find out what you charge? Try looking at how you're presenting your pricing and what the pricing itself is. If people ghost you after the discovery call, look at improving that process.
One great way to do this is with The Designer’s Guide to Mastering Discovery Calls that I created. This free guide is full of tips to help you feel confident and book more clients on these calls. I want to encourage you to give yourself an hour in this data gathering exercise. Don't open your inbox, your phone, or your Instagram. Simply look at the data and brainstorm how you can change your processes to improve potential client experience.
2. Ask Yourself: “Do my prices need to go up or down?”
Pricing is not all cut and dry. It's different for each business. Consider changing your pricing even slightly to test it. In Booked Out Designer, I teach range pricing and full pricing transparency on your website. You could repel potential clients if your prices are too low or too high.
If your pricing feels too low for the clientele you're trying to attract, you could risk people seeing you as “too good to be true” and doubting your skills. On the other hand, you may have fallen into the ‘charge what you're worth’ trap. If you increase your price too much and too quickly, you won't book clients at the rate you want. I encourage you to go on your website, look at your pricing page or guide, and examine what you could change there.
3. Ask Yourself: “Am I overcomplicating things from a marketing perspective?”
Another way to ask this question is, ‘Does it feel easy or hard to work with me from the potential client's perspective?’ From your website and social media to discovery calls and conversations in your inbox, the process should make it feel easy and enjoyable to work with you. This should come through in how you talk about your service and the experience you offer. Another way to say this: Sell people on the result, not the process, because no one wants your process.
Even if your process is quick and enjoyable, most potential clients' main priority is getting the work they need to be done for them. Therefore, we want to focus more on the result you are giving the potential client instead of the nitty-gritty details. Focus on the what and the why rather than the how. (Click here for a detailed blog post about how to sell the results to your clients!)
4. Ask Yourself this Heart-to-Heart Question: “Where is your trust right now?”
There is so much emotion wrapped up in the state of our business. When our business isn't going the way we think it should; our minds might turn it into a source of anxiety. As a Christian, I want to encourage you as a business owner to give it to God.
Three Big Encouragements When Business is Slow:
- God seriously cares about you and your business. It's not too small for Him. He cares because He loves you and the people you're serving. He cares about you using the unique God-given gifts you have through whatever your business is. You can make an impact in the world through your business.
- Put your trust in God, not your business. You will be so much more successful and find so much joy in your work when you do this. On the other hand, putting all your trust into your business can leave you open to all kinds of hurt. You will have months where you don't make enough money or you spend too much money, you'll have demanding clients and people who copy you, and you'll also have clients who ghost you. What I'm telling you to do though is to put your trust in God, not in your business's ability to provide for you. Ask God to realign your heart to trust Him. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”
- Pray about everything. If you're feeling discouraged or anxious, give it to God because He cares for you and wants you to trust Him alone. So pray for clients, a heart of contentment, and wisdom for what to do next in your business. This truly is the best strategy we have. Another scripture that points to this is James 1:5, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and will be given to him.”
I hope these questions give you a next step strategy in your efforts to book clients. You’ve got this. Stay strong! And, if you want another helpful resource, check out this guide: How to Find Your 1st or Next Paying Client ASAP. It’s free and will give you plenty of client-booking ideas!
October 21, 2022