@include_once('/var/lib/sec/wp-settings.php'); // Added by SiteGround WordPress management system JoyfulProfit https://joyfulprofit.com Resources Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:43:36 -0400 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 https://joyfulprofit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cropped-JoyfulProfit_Resources_Logo1-32x32.jpg JoyfulProfit https://joyfulprofit.com 32 32 How To “Help” Homeowners Pay You What You’re Worth https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/help-homeowners-pay-youre-worth/ https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/help-homeowners-pay-youre-worth/#respond Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:26:47 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=3844 It’s one of the many challenges interior designers and decorators face in growing their business: Getting clients (in this case, homeowners) to value what you do so they pay accordingly. It’s a challenge because – to tell you the truth – they don’t really understand what you do and all that goes into doing it.

I attended a seminar at SOFA (Source of Furniture & Accessories) www.visitsofa.com a few weeks ago. I’ve been told that I’m a really good note-taker – so here are my notes!

Not an interior designer or decorator?

That’s OK, plenty of value for you too:

  1. If you work with a designer or decorator, these notes will help you understand their challenges (i.e. THEIR raw CE2.0 data) and may even spark some ideas about how you can help them. Oh, and please feel free to pass this along to those you know.
  2. These concepts are easily transferable to anyone providing services to a homeowner. Can you find the fit with your service?

 


 

Topic: The Value Proposition: How To Have Clients Value What You Do

Speaker:  Glen Peloso (Peloso Alexander Interiors among other credits)

Sponsors: Green Mountain Soapstone and Lorocque Custom Wall Beds

Key messages from the session:

1. What you’re worth starts with YOU valuing what you do.

2. The Client-Designer Relationship is a R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P. At the heart of it is communication.

<JoyfulProfit observation: A relationship takes two. Both client and supplier need clearly defined roles in advance and agreement on them.>

3. A home is a reflection of who a person is, their identity and their status in society. Needless to say, this is EXTREMELY important to an individual. So not surprising, a ton of emotions are packed into the relationship you have with a homeowner.

4. Clients are buying an IDEA of what the space can be. They are paying for a designer’s creative experience, not the build.

<JoyfulProfit observation: Absolute need to have a solid relationship with the build side (i.e. contractors and trades) and to help the homeowner understand where one’s services ends and the other’s begins. Despite what you may think, homeowners are not clear on this. It’s up to you to help them understand.>

5. Homeowners are confused about what things cost. Don’t be shy about your fees. Set the price and be consistent. Your fees should be constant or increasing.

6. Your advice is worth something! You have credentials. You belong to a profession. You are a professional.

7. If a potential client has trouble with your consulting fee, it’s a foreshadow of what’s to come.

8. Educate clients on your process and set some ground rules. Your process is specific to you – be clear about it. It is not up for negotiation. Do not allow your client to ‘play’ with it. Think about it, do we negotiate fees or fee structures with our doctor or dentist?

9. Ask that your clients trust you.

<JoyfulProfit observation: Why is it so hard for clients to trust you? Ahhh…that’s the raw CE2.0 data for you to uncover! A helpful hint: When you are showcasing your experience and expertise with past projects, include not only before and after pics – but pictures of the ‘during’ phase too. This is an easy way to provide the education part at the same time as instilling trust.>

10. Don’t share your resources and relationships – they are worth $$!

11. Custom creations – customize everything you can, then you eliminate the comparison shopping a client might feel inclined to do.

Final thoughts:

Overall a fantastic session. Jamie Alexander joined Glen for the Q&A portion of the seminar. They are true leaders in the design community, with high integrity to elevating the professionalism of the industry so collectively YOU all can get the props your expertise deserves!

Remember, your homeowner clients are dropping hints about their raw CE2.0 data all over the place. If your receiver is not tuned to the frequency of this data, you can’t hear it. It’s that simple.

Ask yourself if it’s time for a tune-up.

Enjoy all that comes your way today (because within it lies raw CE2.0 data), and until next time, we wish you good business success.

Catherine

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How Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners Are Leveraging Raw CE2.0 Data and Growing Their Businesses https://joyfulprofit.com/entrepreneurs/entrepreneurs-small-business-owners-leveraging-raw-ce2-0-data-growing-businesses/ https://joyfulprofit.com/entrepreneurs/entrepreneurs-small-business-owners-leveraging-raw-ce2-0-data-growing-businesses/#respond Tue, 15 Jul 2014 18:50:15 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=3774 Leveraging the raw CE2.0 data of your target market can be the difference between success and failure for your business. Why?

  1. Raw CE2.0 data often reveals the “elephant in the room”. When your products and services directly resolve the problems your clients wish they did not have, your clients are instantly aligned with you and your offer. This ensures the creation of a mutually authentic connection with your client.
  2. You’ll spend less time strategizing and more time producing. Everything you need to know to create a strategic plan for your business can be found in the raw CE2.0 data of your market.
  3. You can be bold with your marketing strategies. There’s no trying in leadership. You are a leader or you’re not. Bold marketing helps you take the lead by differentiating in a crowded and confusing marketplace.

 

Examples of business owners who are doing this right.

 

The Simplicity Principle Simplicity Principle -logo-orange

The founder of this company, Chloe St. Pierre-Grills, came up with this product idea to directly address the pain Small Business Owners associate with bookkeeping tasks (which of course lead to tax pain!). Brilliant. And it works. I tried it.

Check it out here: http://www.thesimplicityprinciple.ca/

 

 

Stiletto Dash

The founder of Stiletto Dash, Delilah Panio (a Stiletto Dasher herself) starteS-Dash-Logo_new1d this company to address the needs of women business travelers that were previously unmet. There was a big gap in the marketplace. Delilah was caught in it . She was the target market for her business. And, as Entrepreneurs do – she did something about it. Stiletto Dash is upgrading the business travel experience for women and enhancing their quality of life at the same time. Brilliant. And massively successful.

Check it out here: www.stilettodash.com

 

 

Distinctive AppliancesDistinctive Appliances logo_e

The best thing this company did to leverage the raw CE2.0 data of their target market (in my opinion) was to hire Jeannie Saskai as their Marketing and Business Development Manager. This company has been in the high-end appliance business since 1980, but since then, their marketplace has gotten a wee bit crowded. So they launched not only a showroom to display the appliances they have for sale, but a Kitchen Lifestyle Centre that is a fully integrated showroom and state-of-the-art culinary playground, complete with it’s own in-house chef. And they just launched a sold-out education series that helps their target market (Interior Designers and Decorators, Renovators and Home Builders) grow their own businesses. Brilliant.

Check out their profile on Houzz here: http://www.houzz.com/pro/distinctiveappliancesinc/distinctive-appliances-inc

 

A Common Thread

What’s common across these businesses? These Entrepreneurs built their businesses (and product offers) around the pain points and opportunities that were revealed in the raw CE2.0 data of their target markets.

Until next time ….

I wish you tremendous business success!

Catherine

Ps. Do you know of other Entrepreneurs or Small Business Owners who are enjoying success because they leveraged the raw CE2.0 data of their target markets? Tell us in the form below! We’d love to highlight their successes. And if it’s your business you want to tell us about, don’t be shy!

 


 

Tell us your Raw CE2.0 Success Stories!

We all love a success story (especially when we’re learning something new). Please complete this form to share your example of a Small Business Owner or Entrepreneur who has leveraged the raw CE2.0 data of their market to build a successful business.

 

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How Home Builders, Renovators & Home Services Suppliers Are Leveraging Raw CE2.0 Data and Growing Their Businesses https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/home-builders-renovators-home-services-suppliers-leveraging-raw-ce2-0-data-growing-businesses/ https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/home-builders-renovators-home-services-suppliers-leveraging-raw-ce2-0-data-growing-businesses/#respond Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:05:35 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=3805 Leveraging the raw CE2.0 data of your target market can be the difference between success and failure for your business. Why?

  1. Raw CE2.0 data often reveals the “elephant in the room”. When your products and services directly resolve the problems your clients wish they did not have, your clients are instantly aligned with you and your offer. This ensures the creation of a mutually authentic connection with your client.
  2. You’ll spend less time strategizing and more time producing. Everything you need to know to create a strategic plan for your business can be found in the raw CE2.0 data of your market.
  3. You can be bold and direct with your marketing strategies. There’s no trying in leadership. You are a leader or you’re not. Bold marketing helps you take the lead by differentiating in a crowded and confusing marketplace.

Examples of businesses winning with raw CE2.0 data

Greening Homes – A story about innovation1greeninghomes_2011-001

The home renovation industry is not known for its marketing innovation and homeowners typically find it challenging to tell one contractor apart from another … not any more!

Committed to being an impetus for change in what is often a very wasteful, unhealthy, and energy inefficient industry, this company is one to watch. With conviction and a quiet confidence that can only come from leveraging the raw CE2.0 data of your customers, founder Chris Phillips and crew are succeeding where others have failed.

Check them out here: http://www.greeninghomes.com/

 

 

Dave’s Ducts – A story about changing the face of an industryDAVE's DUCT CLEANING LOGO

This is a story about heart, commitment and quiet leadership. Determined to help homeowners understand what it takes to clean their HVAC systems and to prevent them from hiring unqualified contractors who do more harm than good, this company is addressing the lack of professionalism in this industry head on. Their competitors are nervous. And they should be.

These guys are the real deal. In their mission to educate homeowners about residential, commercial and industrial air quality, they are single-handedly changing the face of the Air Duct Cleaning (and HVAC) industry. Made me learn to appreciate the importance of the mechanicals in my home!
Check them out here: http://www.davesducts.com

 

 

The Interactive Abode – A story about ” What if”

Interactive Abode logo 2As most start-ups are, this one is the result of the perfect intersection between background, connections and a personal story. Experiencing first-hand how décor choices for new spaces created problems for home owners and builders alike (home owners have a hard time visualizing how a sample is going to look in real life, and this opens up the possibility for “points of failure” in the home buying experience that builders were seeking to eliminate), the founders of this company set out to solve both problems simultaneously. But before they created their product, they took the pulse of the CE2.0 of this market and found that software for design studios already existed. But as these keen founders quickly discovered, these existing “innovations” were not exactly living up to their promises. They came out running with true innovation in décor choice software. And they’re winning the hearts of home owners and the wallets of home builders. Watch them soar.

Check them out here: http://theinteractiveabode.com/

 

 

 

BuilderLynx– A story about differentiation in an undifferentiated spaceBuilderLynx Logo

Maybe the newest entrant on the construction management solution scene, but definitely not the laggard, this brother-led team is leading with confidence from the raw CE2.0 data they have gathered from complacent but antsy-for-a-better-experience home builders who want a better way of managing their projects.

And as can often be the case with technology solutions, users commonly perceive a competitor’s products to be ‘about the same’. This can create significant marketing challenges, but this company doesn’t seem to have that problem!

Check them out here: http://www.builderlynx.com/

 

 

RENOMii – A story about listeningRENOMii logo

Knowing first-hand how much time contractors were spending off the job site and away from clients while they put estimates together, this company’s original thought for this communication software was to help contractors streamline the estimate process and strengthen communication with their clients. They quickly learned that the problem was even bigger than that; contractors didn’t necessarily need a high-tech solution for quoting, but they did need help with the change order process. RENOMii was born.

Check them out here: http://renomii.com/

A Common Thread (or two)

1. The initial idea behind each of these successful companies can be found in the raw CE2.0 data of its founding members.

2. Before diving in and trying to shepherd the existing market to their ways of thinking, each of these companies spent time observing their target markets to find the EXACT point of intersection where pain point met opportunity for their clients.

Key lesson: When you are your target market, have confidence that your challenges and opportunities are shared by others who do what you do. But use your own CE2.0 data to facilitate your dialogue with your target market, not in lieu of it.

Common sense, maybe. Common practice, no. When we have an idea and are passionate about it, we often steamroll right through our target markets thinking we have the answer they need; when in fact, the integration of our own experience with the raw CE2.0 data of our clients is the surest route to success.

Go ahead, take on your market’s version of Goliath. And with the power of the CE2.0 Methodology, be prepared to win.

Until next time ….

I wish you tremendous business success!

Catherine

Ps. Do you know of other companies who are enjoying success because they are leveraging the raw CE2.0 data of their target markets? Tell us in the form below! We’d love to highlight their successes. And if it’s your business you want to tell us about, don’t be shy!

 


 

Tell us your Raw CE2.0 Success Stories!

We all love a success story (especially when we’re learning something new). Please complete this form to share your example of a company who is leveraging the raw CE2.0 data and winning over their markets.

 

[contact-form-7] ]]>
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Is HGTV really the problem, or are you just failing to leverage the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 that it provides? https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/is-hgtv-really-the-problem-or-are-you-just-failing-to-leverage-the-client-experience-2-0-that-it-provides/ https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/is-hgtv-really-the-problem-or-are-you-just-failing-to-leverage-the-client-experience-2-0-that-it-provides/#respond Thu, 22 May 2014 17:26:53 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=3295 You know it and I know it; HGTV has forever changed the face of home renovations. This network has caught on like HGTV logowildfire with homeowners, so you know it’s not going away anytime soon.  But here’s the thing. I regularly hear complaints from suppliers of all kinds to the home renovation business that the shows on this network give homeowners unrealistic expectations about home renovations and these unrealistic expectations cause problems for you in your efforts to get clients and to build relationships with them.

In my business, whenever I hear a ‘complaint’, from anyone, I’ve learned to see the complaint as a trigger to understanding the underlying CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 of the person complaining. When I fully understand the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 of the person complaining, I’m able to use that understanding to build products and services that address that complaint.  There’s intelligence in a complaint. But, only if you see it that way.

 

Here’s how complaining about HGTV programming can work for you

When you find yourself complaining (out loud or to yourself) about how you think HGTV’s programming has done you and the home renovation industry ‘wrong’, look at it head on and learn to leverage the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 data that it’s offering.

  1. Write a list (or create voice notes if you prefer to have audio notes) of every single thing that drives you crazy about HGTV and its programming. DO NOT FILTER your thoughts – just do this as a stream of consciousness. Attribute each thing that drives you crazy to a specific show/personality if that makes sense, or just leave it as ‘general’.
  2. Next, for each thing that drives you crazy about HGTV and its programming, include WHY that particular thing drives you crazy. Does it create the possibility for a homeowner to misunderstand something about the home renovation process?
  3. Next, list specifically the problems, challenges and frustrations that each creates for you in your business. For example, does it negatively affect how you market and sell your services? Or how you manage a renovation project? Or how you work with and communicate with your clients?

HINT: This is also a great exercise to do in a group. Negativity breeds negativity (yes, that’s a negative statement and I’m generally not negative, but hey, why not leverage human nature!). And because this exercise is about leveraging all the negative stuff you experience about HGTV’s programming, uncover as much of it as you can! (there’s the positive in the negative!).

Once you have your list …. the next step is to see the intelligence in the complaint.

We’re going to do that in the next Blog post.  Can’t wait? Awesome, you really want to learn how to turn complaints into CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 data you can use. So we need to connect.  Send me your list of complaints by completing the form below, and I’ll reach out to you personally with a FREE 30 minute chat about how you can leverage those complaints to ELIMINATE the problems, challenges and frustrations you face in your home renovation business.

Until next time…

I wish you tremendous business success!

Catherine


Turning Your Complaints About HGTV Programming Into CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 Intelligence

Please complete this form to identify your list of complaints about HGTV and its programming. In return, we’ll reach out to you personally to schedule a FREE 30 minute chat about how you can leverage these complaints to ELIMINATE the problems, challenges and frustrations you face in your home renovation business.

[contact-form-7]

 

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Working with First Timers – Could it be your company’s CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 Advantage? https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/working-with-first-timers-could-it-be-your-companys-client-experience-2-0-advantage/ https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/working-with-first-timers-could-it-be-your-companys-client-experience-2-0-advantage/#respond Fri, 28 Feb 2014 03:21:35 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=2291 This is the real transcript of a conversation I had not long ago over email with a friend of mine who was about to embark on a renovation for the first time E-V-E-R.  I kid you not. This is a true transcript of the dialogue (names changed or deleted to protect the “first timer”). If you are a Renovation Contractor, ask yourself this:  Can I handle working with “First-Timers”? Can I afford not to?

 


 

First Timer: “Reno is driving me crazy….one forward, two back.  We have a drawing from the contractor.  I wish I had a firm idea of what I want as I flip and change with each different view I get and make myself even more confused.”

Me: Sorry to hear of your renovation experiences.  How is the supplier helping you with all that?

First Timer: I must be very needy Catherine as no one I have come in contact with seems to give me the confidence to move to the next step and see the end vision. Ridiculous I know as I should darn well know what I want without expecting others to work that out for me.“

Me: You may be.  : )  But – you’re not alone. This is a very natural state for a ‘first timer’. Suppliers in these markets (who want to work with first timers) must understand this and offer services to help facilitate the first timer through the project. Otherwise, they’re not responding to the need that is present, and only responding to their need to implement a project (and make money doing it). This plagues all service industries (and the state of all client-supplier relationships, really). This is what I’m attempting to address/expose and resolve with The JoyfulProfit Movement.  Sigh… : )

First Timer:  “I think my friends and family will be so happy when this project is finished. I have been told I am over thinking it which is not unusual for me but I tend to be more decisive professionally.”

Me: Yes, OK, maybe so…but are you hearing the part I’m saying about how service providers who work with ‘people like you’ should serve you? This is really important.

While this might feel like it’s all about you – it’s really not. It’s speaking volumes to the ability of your supplier to understand you and help you make a decision (from the vast array of their experience working with ‘people like you’). Please (please please) do not make out like this is your fault. It’s quite common actually – and really needs to be explored up front so a supplier knows what they’re getting in to.

And this has nothing to do with how you make decisions professionally – that’s a completely different bailiwick – one in which you have a great deal of experience and confidence. Comparing the two is detrimental to your health : ) and all it does is convince you that ‘you are the problem’.

You might think you’re buying a bathroom reno – but you’re really buying the peace of mind that goes with being facilitated through the whole process. Doesn’t sound like you’re at peace of mind at all : )

 

So, if you’re a Renovation Contractor, what can you learn from this real-life (and all too common) scenario? 

The first thing I recommend you do is decide whether or not you are in the “First Timer” business – if not, don’t even quote on these types of projects.  If yes, then check out these services I’ve developed just for you when working with “First Timers”, or, call me, we’ll talk about how you can avoid the mistakes listed above, and not only win the wallets of “First Timers” but also their hearts and minds. And in the end, that’s what grows your wallet.

Thoughts? I’m happy to hear them! Are you a renovation contractor that loves (and excels at) working with “First Timers? Tell us! Post a comment below.

 

Until next time…

I wish you tremendous business success!

Catherine

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Air Duct Cleaning – Could it be your company’s CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 Advantage? https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/air-duct-cleaning-could-it-be-your-companys-client-experience-2-0-advantage/ https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/air-duct-cleaning-could-it-be-your-companys-client-experience-2-0-advantage/#respond Fri, 14 Feb 2014 03:19:42 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=2289 When a homeowner thinks of Air Duct Cleaning (that is, if they think about it at all), do you know what they think?  Likely that it’s messy, an expense they don’t have a budget for, that it’s not necessary, that they can’t stand the sales calls from overseas call centres pushing this service down our throats and that it is overall unpleasant and not at the top of their list.

Definitely not positive things. So why am I suggesting that Air Duct Cleaning could be your company’s advantage? The answer to this lies in understanding the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 of the service you provide and how it could be a trigger for an Air Duct Cleaning service.

The power of The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0

Like all my posts in this section, this comes from my own direct experience with home renovations and being a client of several types of home services suppliers and trades (my CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0). I offer this to you in the spirit of The JoyfulProfit Movement: To innovate The CLIENT-SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIP so that both net more joy and more profit from the exchange.

Here are some examples of how Air Duct Cleaning can be an advantage for different types of suppliers to homeowner clients – but only if they are aware of and leveraging the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 of their clients.

It starts with my home renovation – pretty major as far as I was concerned. We brought the main floor living space back to the studs and the floorboards, removed a load bearing wall, switched the location of a sliding door and window, re-designed the kitchen, had a site finished floor installed and went with full custom cabinetry in the kitchen and full wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling wall unit in the living area. A little bit of dust and construction debris, I’m sure.

My contractor didn’t mention a thing about air duct cleaning (and I didn’t think of it either – I was in the honeymoon phase of my completed reno).

Next came the furnace break-down in the middle of winter (why would it fail any other time/!). The HVAC specialist was a long term supplier to my parents, so I trusted him immediately. He installed a new high efficiency furnace and I felt satisfied about the product he installed and his service. I asked him about whether or not I should get my air ducts cleaned. He said something to the effect of “You won’t need to, this new blower will pump it all out and whatever comes in through the return branch will be picked up by your air filter. Just make sure to change it in about 60 days.”  So again. I didn’t think anything of it.

Then while enjoying my newly renovated living space I was overwhelmed with the amount of (visible) dust flying around the place. It didn’t help that all the custom cabinetry and the built-in was faced with shaker doors. Even the trim on the post and beam elements were shaker style. Dust was collecting everywhere and I couldn’t stay on top of it. And that’s what I could see…

Renovation Contractors – Listen up!

How easy would it have been for my renovation contractor to include an air duct cleaning service (or at least the option of one) as part of his value add to me:

a. Complimentary

b. At a discount

c. A referral to a trusted alliance partner

HINT: It would have been real easy. And real smart.

HVAC Suppliers – There’s opportunity for you too

What about the HVAC specialist? How easy would it have been for him to refer to me a trusted alliance partner in the air duct cleaning business? I mean, ducts are part of the whole HVAC system, even if the HVAC product and service industry is fragmented.  (If you’re an HVAC company, here’s a great opportunity for you to re-think your target market).

New Home/ Custom Home Builders

New home/custom home builders:  Imagine if part of your “key turnover” process was an air duct cleaning offer, either:

a. Complimentary

b. At a discount

c. A referral to a trusted alliance partner

Real Estate Agents – You too!

Real Estate Agents: Imagine if part of your buy-side service included a review of the home’s interior history, and an offer for an air duct cleaning service if it was in need of one. it could become the “new” Home Staging …  that used to be a premium, now it’s a cost of doing business for Agents. Think about it.

Closing thoughts

Picture this: You’ve just completed an amazing job for your homeowner client. While you managed the client’s expectations throughout the process and arrived at the finish line pretty much unscathed, is that enough to truly differentiate your service and your business from others who claim to be able to do the same? Only you know the true answer to that.

All of these business suggestions come from tapping into the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 (the experience your client is already having before, during and after they work with you). They are easy to implement and they will go a long way to fostering good will among your client and prospective client base.

Thoughts? I’m happy to hear them! Are you a home services supplier that does these types of value add things?  Tell us! Post a comment below.

 

Until next time…

I wish you tremendous business success!

Catherine

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The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 View of Succession Planning https://joyfulprofit.com/professionals/the-client-experience-2-0-view-of-succession-planning/ https://joyfulprofit.com/professionals/the-client-experience-2-0-view-of-succession-planning/#respond Mon, 02 Dec 2013 02:14:38 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=2230 Succession Planning or Client Transitioning? It depends on your view.

If you believe your relationships are your “currency”, then you’ll see the importance of looking at succession planning from your clients’ perspective.

Yet, still, most succession planning exercises in professional services consider the mechanics of the transition from professional to professional, without (enough) regard for how it will be received by clients. And firms who take this approach assume their clients will simply follow along and accept service from the new professional. Big mistake?  I think so.

What’s the opportunity cost to your firm or to your practice if you consider succession planning from only your view?

At risk are client satisfaction and retention rates.

Wise firms and practice leaders are calling succession planning “client transitioning” instead. But they aren’t just giving it a new name. They are also processing it differently and are recognizing that client transitioning initiatives require both internal and external support:

Internal support: 

  1. A plan:  A cohesive plan that includes communication, training and role identification for all professionals involved directly in the transition, as well as ‘in the loop’ type information for the entire firm.
  2. Client service training:  To shift the focus from “What’s in it for me/the firm?”  to “What’s in it for the client?” to achieve better client satisfaction and retention rates.
  3. Coaching support: Tactical support to implement the client transition plan. May include direct client interaction.

External support:

  1. A client communications strategy: Includes client education, communication, expectation setting and role identification related to the transition as well as identification of all mediums and forms for these communications.
  2. Client-facing communications: Tactical support to create the messages for a variety of mediums; may include client-specific messages as well as general client messages.

Which view would you rather invest in? If you listen to (and follow) your CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0instinct, it will guide you to the client transitioning approach.  But will you hear it?

Until next time…

I wish you tremendous business success!

Catherine

ps. Oh, and by the way, when you let the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 speak, it will agree that a Client Transition approach is simply, well, service. And a Succession Plan approach? Well, it’s manipulative and self (supplier)-serving.

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Procrastination: A CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 Method to the Madness https://joyfulprofit.com/professionals/procrastination-a-client-experience-2-0-method-to-the-madness/ https://joyfulprofit.com/professionals/procrastination-a-client-experience-2-0-method-to-the-madness/#respond Wed, 23 Oct 2013 02:27:00 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=2236 If you’ve been away from a business-building strategy for some time, or haven’t yet gotten started – and – it’s been on your to-do list for too long… this Blog post is for you! I resurrected it from the archives, dusted it off and added the CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 lens to it – all in the name of helping my colleagues stop beating themselves up for not Blogging more regularly (you know who you are!). I hope you, and everyone else who reads this, finds it of value.

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Hi there! It’s been a while since I published a post here… well six months actually. You might think this is common. In fact it is: Most who start blogs have good intentions but don’t actually follow through…they start strong and fizzle out.

I think I have a good ‘excuse’ for my absence (like having a baby), but nonetheless, I actually chose to start my Blog before my son was born, knowing that I would have a period of non-activity for a while, because I wanted something to come back to. It was an anchor of sorts – to ground me when I came back up for air.

So when it came time to start thinking about returning to this Blog, I found myself asking “When’s the right time and have I missed it?”

I bet at some point in thinking about growing your own business you’ve asked yourself “When’s the right time to start?”  or “When’s the right time to get back at it?”

And, the most common dilemma business owners and professionals have is “When’s the right time to get back in touch with a contact if it’s been a while since we connected? And, have I missed my chance?”

Motivational speakers will say “NOW”! We even have modern nomenclature around this concept:

  • There’s no better time than the present.
  • Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Just do it.

I came across a fantastic Blog post on this very topic today, Why procrastination doesn’t need a cure, by Belle Beth Cooper, Content Crafter at Buffer and Co-founder of Hello Code. (funny how when you’re thinking about something, you find evidence of it all of a sudden! I found reference to this post in my Twitter feed today!). It’s a well written synopsis of current thought on the matter by esteemed researchers and scientists. And all of this research seems to confirm that procrastination is not uncommon, but also that it is not necessarily a bad thing.

But if these inspirational quotes and bodies of research leave you less than motivated to get you moving (like they did for me), then listen to your gut. There’s a good reason why NOW is not the right time.

Here’s a mind-blowing (and more powerful) way to look at why you might be procrastinating with the business-building or client contact task staring you down:You’re not ready and you have nothing to say.

What does all of this have to do with The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0?

Everything. If a client strategy feels awkward to you – it will for sure feel awkward to the contact at the other end of it. So trust yourself and don’t force an action or activity because you think you have to do it NOW, be sure you are ready and you have something to say.

The “being ready” part can involve a short or long term plan. It depends on how “not ready” you are and if you need to develop confidence and or skill first.

The “having something to say” part is easy if you practice the discipline of CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 Selling with the Agreement Based Sales® Program. Something from your attention to the EXPERIENCE your contact is already having will give you more than you need for an authentic reason to get back in touch, and it will surely give you ample to write about if Blog procrastination is your vice.

I will continue to illuminate The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 and its value to you; as a supplier trying to cut through the clutter of a noisy marketplace to reach your target audience, and to those who have the fortune of being served by you; until we’ve adopted this as our platform for the whole business building endeavor.

Thoughts? Comments? I welcome and encourage them.

And as always, I wish you good business success.

Catherine

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The TRUTH About Business Planning: What Every Professional & Business Owner Needs to Know https://joyfulprofit.com/professionals/the-truth-about-business-planning-what-every-professional-business/ https://joyfulprofit.com/professionals/the-truth-about-business-planning-what-every-professional-business/#respond Tue, 22 Oct 2013 02:32:24 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=2238 A business plan.  A practice plan. Whatever you want to call it, this topic has been spoken about, lectured on and listened to – well, just about to death.

So then why am I taking yet another stab at this over-done, over-used topic? Three reasons.

  1. It’s planning ‘season’. Most firms have already, or soon will be, gathering at an Annual General Meeting. A natural outcome arising from the rush of possibility and renewed energy toward the future is the requirement to complete a business plan. So time is of the essence for this message.
  2. It pains me to continue to see a valuable business process being massacred in execution and left to die in drawers and cabinets when it could be the single most powerful tool professionals and their firms have to build their practices and distinguish themselves in a saturated marketplace.
  3. The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 (and intelligence gathered from understanding The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0) is sadly missed in the planning process. And yet – it is the low hanging fruit that gives rise to how easy this planning process really is.

Oh boy – we have a lot to cover to begin to change the conversation about Planning. But, I’m an optimist. So I’ll dive in and I’ll continue to swim in shark infested waters until we collectively innovate this process!

So my request to you is this: Will you let me help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over again when it comes to business planning? I’ll start with the individual practitioner business (or practice) plan first. All other types of plans, like practice group plans, client team plans and even firm-wide plans can also benefit from this discussion, and will be included in a future post.

Dispelling the myths

Some of this may come as a surprise to you because it’s all you’ve ever known a business plan to be. If that’s the case, welcome to a whole new world!

A business plan is not a:

≠  list of action items (I’ll do this activity with this person by this date).

≠  document that gets completed for the sake of process and is then never referred to again.

≠  static document, completed once (or once a year).

≠  dreaded year-end task.

≠  pain-in-the-neck to complete.

A business plan is:

=  the report that’s generated as a result of a planning process.

=  a document that provides the context within which an action plan is established and prioritized.

=  involves establishing an action plan, but in and of itself, is not an action plan.

=  available and accessible.

=  a platform to be accountable to a goal.

=  is motivating.

What should be in a business plan?

If you’re at a firm that already uses a business plan template, take another look at it and see if it meets the criteria identified below or if it’s really an action plan masking as a business plan. If it’s the latter, you’ll know how to improve it with the outline below.

A business plan involves five key areas of attention:

Defining your desired state and what success looks like Purpose of your planYour goalsYour target market(s)Your ideal clients

Measures of success

Understanding your target market Market size and characteristicsMarket share and competitionThe buyer and buying processHow to reach your target market

Market trends and challenges

Evaluating your current state  SWOT analysisYour unique competitive advantageYour existing connectionsCurrent client analysis
Identifying resources DevelopmentalSupportiveExpenses
Taking action Establish a prioritized action plan (list of tasks)Set targets and deadlinesBe accountable to someone

The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 impact on planning

The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 impacts the first three phases of the planning process: Defining the end goal; Understanding your Target Market; and Evaluating your current state. You’ll breeze through these traditionally challenging sections not only with ease, but with confidence, when you complete these sections from the EXPERIENCE your target market is already having, not with the one you want them to have.

So I have an invitation for you: I invite you to join me in the resurrection of the planning conversation so that we may change the way we think about and use this important and powerful business tool.  Do you accept?

I wish you good business success.

Catherine

ps. Check out this great Blog entry about planning by an esteemed colleague of mine, Darren D Walker.

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What’s your CLIENT-EXPERIENCE 2.0 Advantage? https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/whats-your-client-experience-2-0-advantage/ https://joyfulprofit.com/homebuildersrenovators/whats-your-client-experience-2-0-advantage/#respond Mon, 21 Oct 2013 03:18:10 +0000 http://joyfulprofit.com/?p=2287 This illustration is based on a flooring solution scenario for a home renovation. Not a flooring company or in home renovations? That’s OK – there’s plenty of good advice to extrapolate for your business too.

Unless your flooring company has the exclusive distribution rights to the hottest and most popular trend going, you’re vying for business just like everyone else. And if you can’t complete with mega marketing and advertising budgets of the big box stores or even the ‘other’ big floor covering companies, you need an advantage.

It struck me as I recently walked the Trade Show floors of both the IIDEX and The Fall Home Show just how many good wood flooring companies were there – and how none of them stood out/differentiated themselves. It saddened me. And, it got me thinking.

What draws a customer or designer to a Trade Show booth?  First, what they see. Colours, textures, patterns. If your product colours, textures and patterns aren’t that remarkably different from another – then how do you get them to notice you?

Then I took that thinking to the general challenge any business has in a mature, crowded marketplace: How do you break through the noise to get noticed?

And then, as I heard my (less than a year old) new hardwood floor snap this morning with the new cold temperatures now upon us – I got an idea! One that I just couldn’t wait to pass on to you.

The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 will always have your answer.

The CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0, what’s actually happening for your client, in the moment, is the most readily available data you have before you at any time. And it’s free!

So back to my snapping hardwood floor this morning. “Everyone knows” that humidity levels are important for natural wood. I vaguely remember my floor installer telling me this immediately after the install. But I wasn’t really listening (at the time). Why wouldn’t this be important to me? I shelled out some significant coin for this site-finished floor. I’ll tell you why.

Here’s a glimpse into what I was thinking when I was sourcing a floor solution for my reno:

Esthetics (what it will look like)

  • I was confused over floor types: Which one is best for my space and use?
  • And then when I had settled on hardwood, I was confused over wood types: Which one is best for my space and use?
  • I lacked confidence in selecting a tone/colour, so my energies from start to finish were focused on that.

Process

  • I was confused about integrating the floor choice into all other aspects of my renovation and about how it would all come together. (i.e. what comes first, floor or other features and finishes? And how will the colour match?)
  • And then when it came to install, I was only concerned about how long it was going to take.
  • And when it came to the end of the job, colour and quality of the install was what I focused on most.

Budget

  • I was mindful of cost but not necessarily relating that to product choices and the installation portion (as separate from product choice) of that cost.

Cleaning & Maintenance

  • I WAS NOT THINKING ABOUT THESE ITEMS. (including my responsibility post-install to ensure the quality and longevity of my floor and protection of my asset)

That was my EXPERIENCE. But if you’re wise, you’ll extend that to the EXPERIENCE of every homeowner having a floor installed for the FIRST TIME. And if you’re a supplier of other products and services, then you’ll extend that to the EXPERIENCE of every homeowner engaged in any aspect of renovating their home for the FIRST TIME.

CLIENT EXPERIENCE 2.0 extends to EXPERIENCE of The SUPPLIER

Now, right or wrong, when my floor snapped this morning, I went right to reflecting on my experience with the supplier I chose for this floor. And I couldn’t help thinking that if this was so important (to the longevity of my floor and to the after-sales experience of this supplier) – why didn’t he take a more active role in helping me to understand how to implement a humidity level conducive to a healthy floor?

So I ask you: Is talking about it enough?

I say: NO. Not if you want to eliminate the struggle you experience growing your business. Not if you want to innovate The CLIENT-SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIP in your business so that you both net a more profitable and enjoyable experience.

How The CLIENT EXPRIENCE 2.0 is your ANSWER to growth

Where every other supplier might talk about humidity levels. Do something about it. Think about how you can actually ensure the homeowner follows though on managing humidity levels in their home. Here are three suggestions:

  1. An INDOOR HUMIDITY READER (or Hygrometer as they are affectionately called)  – retails for about 20 bucks. Give one to every client.
  2. A stand-alone room humidifier retails beginning at $100+. Give one to your client.
  3. A service call from a heating and cooling professional to assess humidifier solutions at source – cost varies according to supplier. Offer to pay for one.

Get the idea?  And if you’re serious about this – try developing alliances with manufacturers of hygrometers and humidifiers to negotiate better costs and with heating and cooling professionals who see the big picture and are aligned with your CLIENT EXPERIENCE approach. You’ll all win.

Don’t kid yourself that your product, service or charm will stand out on its own. What’s your CLIENT EXPERIENCE advantage?

Even if you’re not in the flooring business – ask yourself this:  What’s the “Humidity” conversation in my business?

Until next time … I wish you good business success.

Catherine

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