Truth Telling From The Trenches with Conversion Copy Writer Betsy Talbot
Business leaders in North America, the UK, and Australia knock on Betsy Talbot's virtual door when they want a steady stream of new leads, a proven method of converting those leads into customers, and an automated yet personalized system of delighting those customers so they become raving fans.
Using her signature 9-stage solution, The Talbot Technique, Betsy demystifies the sales and marketing process so business owners can enjoy reliable, repeatable success for themselves and the clients they serve—without confusion, overwhelm, or wasting money.
Discover how The Talbot Technique can help you steadily grow your business at http://www.BetsyTalbot.com.
When she's not creating winning sales and marketing strategies, Betsy enjoys renovating her cave house and garden in the Andalucía region of Spain, stumbling through her weekly couples dance class, and long-distance hiking around the world.
She's also a fan of good wine, international food, and spy books and movies.
Where is your business located?
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I spent years creating marketing campaigns, books, ebooks, courses, onboarding material, websites, videos, podcast interviews, case studies and more for my own small business, which focused on personal productivity and growth. Clients, colleagues, and readers kept asking me to help them create similar materials and strategies, or to look over their campaigns and provide feedback. Mostly I had to say no because I didn't have enough time. I'm a little embarrassed to say how long it took me...but I finally realized it would be more fulfilling for me to work with dozens of clients in a variety of markets rather than fatigue myself working on one business for the rest of my life. And I haven't looked back since.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Walking briskly for an hour first thing every morning charges my brain and body for a productive day. I see the sunrise virtually every day of the year, minutes after I wake up, and glow of this morning activity fuels my creativity and improves my ability to find solutions for my clients' problems. If you aren't a morning walker, I recommend trying it for two weeks to see the mental benefit you gain from this simple activity.
What does your work day look like and how do you maximize your productivity?
I work Monday-Thursday from 8a-4, with two days reserved for evening client appointments. (This is for my North American clients, who are between 6-9 hours behind my timezone.) I start with the most important projects of the day, of which there are never more than 3. Only after that do I check email, make calls, and do other non-creative work. Because I work with multiple clients at once, a strict production schedule keeps all my projects on track.
The firm boundaries I keep for myself and my projects means there are almost no emergencies in my world, I can adjust to small variances like sickness or client delays, and I always know how much work I take on.
How do you bring your great business ideas to the world to serve your clients?
We always start with a strategy session. New clients complete what I call my Golden Questionnaire, which helps us quickly hone in on strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. From there, we have a 90-minute strategy session to map out not only the project in front of us, but a high-level view of next-stage opportunities so clients can see how it all works together over time. Clients are always blown away by the insights from these sessions. While I'd like to claim 100% credit for this, the truth is most people have never looked at their businesses in this light. By guiding them through this process, I show clients how to look at their website and offers from a prospect point of view and close gaps that are currently slowing their sales. My experience and systems show clients how to look at their business in a whole new way, and it often results in bigger "aha" moments that fuel even bigger improvements (and revenues) than initially planned.
What is one trend in business that excites you?
Automation! Far from being impersonal, automation shows you care enough to make sure excellent communication happens. Taking advantage of email workflows, process workflows, and other forms of automation keep your business running smoothly, your customers confident of their next steps, and your revenues flowing. I can't think of a better business investment than thoughtful automation, and I personally spend a great deal of my marketing budget on it.
What is one strategy that helped you grow your business?
One form of automation that allows me to land bigger and better clients is my professional onboarding process. From the very first contact with my website all the way through the free consult scheduling, proposal, contract, invoice, and kickoff meeting, everything is professional and timely. This systems makes me look "bigger" than I am, and it gives prospects greater confidence in hiring me. I also have screening questions about budget, timeline, and project scope that quickly qualify great clients and allow those who are not to self-select out of the process. This saves me (and my prospects) a huge amount of time and has shortened my average sales cycle by over a week.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One that springs to mind—and something many entrepreneurs fall victim to—is taking on less-than-ideal clients. This is especially tempting when the budget *seems* high or the client is noteworthy. However, there is never enough budget or fame to account for a bad fit. I recently had what felt like a good fit with a new prospect. However, right before we finalized our agreement, he brought in a partner company. The parter, whom I only briefly met, was to pay the invoices, though they'd be splitting the fee behind the scenes. Warning bells went off, but it was a high-profile project I thought would make a great case study. Long story short, the new partner was not as engaged in the project as the original client. She didn't understand the need of milestones we'd already agreed to and wanted me to spend extra time "convincing" her of the need for the work. This was *after* the contract was signed! We had more meetings than necessary, invoices were not paid on time, and eventually they put the project on hold due to internal disagreements on the way forward. The only saving grace in this scenario was the "out clause" of the contract and the fact that I only set it up for three months to start. I will never make that mistake again. I only work with ideal clients who are 100% ready to work. If they show any hesitancy or behind-the-scenes drama, I quickly remove myself from negotiations.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to this community?
The number one action you can take *right now* to grow your business is to document your entire solution. How do you help your clients—soup to nuts? Document every single step, interaction, and deliverable. Once you have this full flow in front of you, you'll discover:
Greater clarity in explaining what you do, both in person and online
Gaps and opportunities within your solution
Confidence in how to best market your solution
I can't recommend this strategy enough, and it's no surprise this is Step 1 of every project with a new client.
What is the best $100 you have recently spent? on What? Why?
Trint! This voice recognition software allows me to get transcriptions of my client meetings in less time than it takes to record them. I no longer have to rely on notes during meetings or re-listen afterward. Plus, I get a better feel for the client's language and habits, which makes capturing his or her voice easier. As of this writing, there is a 30-minute free trial at Trint.com, so you can try it for yourself with no risk.
What is one piece of software or app that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use 17Hats as my CRM and invoicing solution. Within the program, I have workflows for different types of projects.
This means everything from emails, to questionnaires, to proposals, to invoices, and more—all of it either goes out automatically or with the push of a few buttons by me. I save a ton of time, nothing falls through the cracks, and my business looks professional at every interaction. You can check out my entire list of favorite business resources here.
What is the best business book you have read? Why?
This is always changing for me, but a recent favorite is Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, by Chris Voss. Learning to be a better negotiator—on project scope, price, deliverables, direction, and in problem-solving and boundary-holding—has made me a better businesswoman.
What is your favorite quote?
This is always changing for me, too! Right now I'm fond of saying, "Automation is far from impersonal—it means you care enough to make sure something happens at the right time for your prospects and clients."
Who inspires you in business and why?
Without sounding like a suck up, Debbie Page! Your consistency in action and message is something we could all emulate to enjoy greater success. Another inspiration is my friend Nathalie Molina Niño, founder of Brava Investments. She lives and breathes her message of bringing greater economic opportunities to women around the world. If you aren't already following her on Facebook, I encourage you to do so. She is actively working to make business life better for you, me, and every young woman in the generations after us. And she's doing it with a growing community of friends in high places. And look for her upcoming book, Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs (summer 2018)
What are your thoughts on work-life balance?
I am in charge of creating the lifestyle I want. Period. No excuses, no whining, no blaming. This year I'll enjoy 10 weeks of time off while still hitting my revenue numbers. This comes from careful planning, sticking to my schedule, and not allowing distractions. I also never answer email on weekends. (I don't even check it!) As entrepreneurs, we can be our own best friends or our own worst enemies when it comes to healthy boundaries. I choose to be my BFF so I can enjoy a profitable business to feed the lifestyle that makes it all worthwhile.
What are the 3 business lessons you’ve learned so far?
1. Choose to work with positive, reasonable people. There is never a time when a jerk is a benefit to your business or your mental health. 2. When possible, get paid upfront or on an automated schedule. Besides being good for cash flow, eliminating money conversations allows you to focus 100% on the project's success and avoid any simmering resentments over late payments or awkward phone calls. 3. Related to #2, hold yourself to a high standard in meeting deadlines and doing what you say you're going to do. People are more likely to pay you upfront, and in greater amounts, if you're the cream of the crop.
What is your workspace like?
I live in a cave house, and my office in the very back of the cave looking out through the glass doors onto the patio and hills beyond. Over my shoulder hangs a giant grass-woven bull named Buford Sanchez, and beside him is an array of antique mirrors that reflect the light coming in from the patio door. Buford is my BS monitor, and the mirrors make my office not only brighter, but more beautiful. This is a cozy and inspiring place to work, and it is away from the general living areas of my house. While I might occasionally take a notebook outside to brainstorm on the patio in the sunshine, 98% of my work is done at my desk. This keeps me productive during work time and free to enjoy my home when I'm "off."
Last thing you do at the end of your work day?
After reviewing the next day's agenda, I announce out loud that I'm done for the day and enjoy a glass of wine with my husband. Having a clear-cut "end of day" is essential for me. As you know, the job of an entrepreneur never ends. So you have to create a cut-off time every day to avoid being consumed by it.
What is the one thing you can't leave home without?
Reading glasses! Ugh, I'm at the age where I can't even read a menu without those things.
What superpower would you love to have to use for good?
My husband has an internal GPS and can find his way around any city in the world. Me? I get lost almost every time I leave my house. If I had a superpower, it would be an internal GPS so I could always be a leader to the lost. That being said, I'm a PRO at getting "unlost" (likely because of all the practice). I have no fear of striking up conversations with strangers—some of which have resulted in great experiences!
Number of unread emails right now?
Anything else you want to add?
One negative habit I often see in business owners is letting the client dictate the terms of the relationship and the project. This is a huge mistake. Clients hire you for your expertise, experience, and leadership. Always be the leader in your client relationships and projects. Don't make clients guess the next step or provide feedback without guidance! When you lose control of the process, you fail the client, the project, and yourself. Plus, it just feels ick. Creating repeatable systems will go a long way in helping you maintain leadership, as these inspire confidence.
How can other entrepreneurs connect with you?
Click here to discover how I can help you demystify the sales and marketing process so you can enjoy reliable, repeatable success for yourself and the clients you serve—without confusion, overwhelm, or wasting money. Do we already know each other, or a mutual friend? Then let's connect on LinkedIn. Wishing you continued success and prosperity as you create a business that fuels a beautiful life!
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