How to Add a Stream of Income that Makes Your Clients Smile and Makes You Money

by | Jul 16, 2009

Recently in Shaboom County we were talking about how to figure out what you can sell that people will actually buy. In other words, how do you create a new stream of income, really?
Most of us approach designing a product or service by figuring out what people need, what’s good for them, and then trying to convince them we can help.
But prospective clients are people, and people don’t think that way.
People don’t want what’s good for them; they want to feel good.
Ask Your Clients What They Want, then Offer It to Them
Here’s the part that’s so simple it can be difficult to take it seriously.
The way to come up with a product or service that really will generate income is to ask clients what they want, then give them that.
Why We Don’t Ask
The three reasons I hear most often for not asking clients what they want are:
1. I’m supposed to be the expert. I should know what they want.
2. Selling people hope (i.e., what they want) is sleazy.
3. Asking clients what they want and then using that to sell to them is manipulative.
Who Is the Real Expert?
Streams of income come from products and services that your clients want. When it comes figuring our what your clients want and will buy, use, and love, there’s only one real expert.
The expert is your just-right client.
It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, if you don’t satisfy that expert, no sale.
We All Need Hope
Selling false hope to desperate people is sleazy. Let’s be clear about that.
But there is no necessary connection between selling hope and selling false hope. Nowhere is it written that addressing what people want prevents them from getting what they need.
In fact, the opposite is true. When we don’t offer people what they want, they don’t buy it, even when it is what they need.
What’s more, people who don’t feel good aren’t very good at doing things that are good–for themselves or others. Which is why, even if you can get clients to buy what’s good for them, they so rarely use it.
And when they don’t use it, they don’t get the benefits.
And they don’t come back for more.
The Respect Factor
The difference between serving clients and manipulating them boils down to respect.
When you approach a client respectfully and really listen to what she wants, you’ll learn not just how to get her to buy but also how to deliver your work in a way she can really use.
And using it, she’ll get to benefit from it.
And benefiting, she’ll come back for more.
The Three Keys to Multiple Streams of Income
You know the old saw about the three keys to retail success, location, location, location?
Well, the three keys to creating multiple streams of income are listening, listening, listening.
Listen for what your clients want by paying very strict attention to the precise words they use to describe their challenges, their hopes, their dreams.
Listen for what they want to experience, to what it would be like in an ideal world to have their wants satisfied.
Listen for what they are afraid they can’t have, for the fears and expectations that keep them from taking action.
Real Life Example: Design and Market A Teleclass
A while back I decided to offer a new, simplified version of Authentic Promotion. Before I did a lick of work on it, I posted the following request in Shaboom County:

Hi there,
II’ve decided to revive the Authentic Promotion course in 2009. It will be the same concepts but vastly simplified (not dumbed down) and focused tightly on completing the course with a half-page marketing plan for 12 months. The course will be 7 weeks long. There will be an optional follow-on program for implementing the plan with support for 3 or 9 months.
Question 1: What’s the hardest thing about marketing for you?
Question 2: If your marketing problems went away, what would that be like?
Question 3: Okay, let’s be real. What is it you don’t believe you can get from a course like this (but gee, wouldn’t it be great if you could)?”

The very first person who answered told me everything I needed to know to design the course and market it. Here’s what she wrote. You can see how I used these very words to describe the content and to design the course on this landing page. (Note: The course will not be offered again until next year.)

Question 1: What’s the hardest thing about marketing for you?

  • Discerning/deciding what to market and to whom
  • Planning ahead. The commitment: investment of time, focus and interactive energy
  • Deeper issues on receiving.
  • Herding the crowd of cats that is moi. Question 2: If your marketing problems went away, what would that be like?
    Fun, easy and creative.
    Question 3: Okay, let’s be real. What is it you don’t believe you can get from a course like this (but gee, wouldn’t it be great if you could)?
    A durable peaceful planning process. Much less work/effort/time on computer (not a chance!!)

  • The Best Part
    It’s wonderful to design, market, and successfully fill a course this easily, and I would love for you to have that experience. But that’s not the best part.
    The best part is that the people who participated in this course got what they came for. They were happy campers who knew what what they wanted and got it.
    And because they got it the way they wanted it, they are using it.
    That means more success for them and more business for me.
    What’s not to love?