By Yvonne Bynoe, Senior Contributor
One of the main reasons why entrepreneurs, coaches and solo-professionals have inconsistent income is because they don't have a clear pathway for their clients. If your business is centered on "one-off" sessions or visits, after you've worked to get a client into the door, you have nothing to offer them to continue the relationship. The result is that you are constantly marketing so that each month you have sufficient clients and cash-flow. A better course of action is to develop an up-sell strategy that provides more service and assistance as your client progresses with you. Moreover, up-selling will also provide you with a better return on the time and energy that you expend on marketing.
Up-selling has gotten a bad rap, but most savvy business people do it. In its basic form, up-selling is making an offer of a related or upgraded product to an existing customer. If you've ever been asked if you'd like to "supersize" your drink, you've experienced an up-sell. If you went to the dealership to purchase a new car and the salesperson offered you a model with additional features, you experienced an up-sell. If you ever went to the jewelry store to buy a necklace, only to have the salesperson encourage you to also buy the matching earrings and bracelet, you've experienced an up-sell. Up-selling is generally done when the customer has already made a purchasing commitment or is at the point of sale.
As a business owner, you should have a logical plan about how your products and services work together. This is important so that you can ethically offer your client the "next" solution in your line of products or services. There's an argument that can be made that it's irresponsible to solve only one problem. Once your client has resolved that issue, invariable another will arise. If you don't offer any further assistance, you'll lose the client because they will need to look elsewhere for answers. Furthermore, as an expert you could foresee the coming problem, so why not provide a way for your client to address it? As an entrepreneur or service professional, this means that rather than having numerous unrelated products, programs or services that you streamline your offerings so that one offer naturally leads into the next.
Having 2-3 packages (bundles of products or services) at different prices is a great way to create a clear roadmap for your clients as they move from one problem to another or from one goal to another. For instance, a fitness coach might start with a basic 6 week group weight loss program. That program could then lead into a 3 month personalized 1 on 1 coaching program or into a 6 month semi-private group focused on a particular fitness area like running. Similarly, a florist may have a monthly service option that is upgraded to VIP status (with special perks and a broader flowers selection) if the customer pre-purchases a set amount of months. This type of structure is beneficial to you and to your clients. Your clients continue to receive your expert guidance and services as they face new challenges or attempt new goals. For you, you can stabilize your cash flow by generating more revenue per client.
Yvonne Bynoe, J.D. is a leadership and business expert. She is the creator of Soulful Affluence, a women's leadership and entrepreneurial training company. Her signature coaching program, Clarity, Clients and Cash, combines proven 6-figure business and marketing strategies. Follow Yvonne on twitter @YvonneBynoe website: http://www.soulfulaffluence.com