You can save a lot of time by harnessing the power of automation in your business. Most of the business tasks you do manually can be automated to save time and make the process much smoother for your clients.
Gabrielle Chipeur is a Marketing Automation Specialist, author, award-winning designer, and multiple business owner. She is also a valuable resource in The Business (R)evolution Academy and helps set up automated systems for our students.
In this episode, I speak with Gabrielle Chipeur about seven things you can do to automate your business. We discuss the processes that can be automated and how it affects the overall client experience, how to generate and prequalify your leads automatically, and more.
In this episode of the Business (R)Evolution Podcast:
- What processes you should automate in your business
- Features to look for in payment processing automation
- Long-term nurturing automation
- Generating and prequalifying leads automatically
- And more!
Resources and links Joanna mentions in this episode:
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Full episode transcript
[JOANNA SAPIR] (00:01):
There are many things that you are probably doing in your business manually that could be automated to save you time and energy and give you so much more ease in your business. That’s what I’m talking about on today’s episode, Seven Things to Automate In Your Business.
Welcome to the Business (R)Evolution Podcast, where practitioners and coaches that provide services in health, wellness, and education, come to learn the business side of things like marketing, pricing, hiring, finances, all the things you need to streamline and organize your business, create steady and predictable income, serve your clients even more deeply and reach your full potential as a business owner. If you are a skilled, experienced practitioner of your craft that has or wants to have a profitable and sustainable business doing the work you love, you’re in the right place and I’m so glad you’re here. Let’s get into this episode.
Okay, welcome back to the Business Revolution for practitioner’s podcast. In this episode we’re talking about what things in your business can, and in my opinion, should be automated to save you time and give you much more ease and in many cases, make the experience better for your clients, build your business better, make you a better practitioner, like actually serve your clients better. There’s so many reasons to automate these various processes in your business and I have invited one of my favorite people, someone who I feel like practically runs my business and that’s Gabrielle Chipeur, who’s a business automations expert. welcome Gabrielle.
[GABRIELLE CHIPEUR] (02:04):
Thanks sor much for having me, Joanna.
Gabrielle runs, not only does she run so many things behind the scenes in my business, but she also is our tech support and automations expert in the Business (R)Evolution Academy and in the leadership cadre. So she works directly with our clients and builds and installs automations. That actually is part of what we provide in the Business (R)Evolution Academy, is done for you marketing and sales automation. So we’re going to be sharing several of those today and talking about why you should, like I said, I think it’s should, why I think you should be automating these pieces in your business. How’s that sound? You ready to dive in and talk about these things with me, Gabrielle?
Yes, absolutely because this is definitely my favorite topic ever.
I wanted to start with the first most obvious to me, the most obvious thing to automate. Now, some of you listening may already have this done, and if you do kudos, great. I still want to offer a couple tips that may make it even better. Then some of you may not have this in place at all, and I think like if there’s one thing you walk away from this episode with, it’s to do this and that is to automate your scheduling. We’re talking about scheduling appointments with clients, and if you use the client champion formula that’s scheduling, automated scheduling for your discovery call or consultation, it’s any type of appointment. Gabrielle, I don’t know how much, I spend a lot of time as the client of different wellness practitioners and it’s amazing to be a client and how different the client experience is when I end up in phone tag or text tag or email tag with a practitioner trying to nail down a day and time that we’re both available., It is such a pain in the ass. There could be so much time and energy saved. In fact, sometimes it’s such a pain that I want to give up, like, are you kidding me? Don’t you just have a link for me to go see what you have available and I choose one?
This is really the simplest thing to automate right off the bat, because honestly, like you mentioned that back and forth, email, text, phone tag, “Is this time work for you? Does that?” “No, that doesn’t work for me.” It’s so frustrating to deal with as a client, but also as a practitioner too, because you’re trying to be accommodating to your clients. You’re trying to make sure that it works for them so you do tend to go over and above trying to meet their needs, but it’s just taking so much of your energy. The simplest way to take care of that is just to have an online scheduler. You put your available hours, in the time slots that you can be booked for, and someone just goes and picks what works for them.
I love that you brought that up because that’s a boundaries issue. Many practitioners, when they start working with me, it turns out that they, maybe without realizing it, sometimes they realize it have serious boundary issues where they’re bending over backwards to fit people in when you know at times that are not ideal for them, the practitioner. Might be weekends, might be evenings, they may have already returned home from the office and then they’re going back whatever. It’s because they have never actually decided what are my client hours? What are the hours that I see clients and what are the hours that I work on other stuff and what are the hours that are for me to do my exercise or take a walk or date night, whatever it is?
People haven’t actually determined that. That’s another added step here is that you get to determine that when you’re automating your schedule. So you decide what are your client facing hours, and that is based on when you want to see clients. It’s not about when people say they’re available. I promise all of you listening, I promise you that people will adjust their own schedules to fit in yours. Simple as that. They really will. I do it all the time when somebody does send me an automated link. I go, okay, which what of these can I make work best for me and I make it work.
There are so many different schedulers available. You might even have this if you have practice management software, you probably already have an automated scheduler in your software. Or there are a couple big ones that we tend to recommend. One is Calendly. Calendly is really simple and easy. It’s very simple. The other we recommend generally is Acuity, particularly for in-person practitioners, if you’re hands on doing in-person work. One of the benefits of Acuity has been that it allows you to schedule client’s sessions out really easily while you’re in the office with them, as well as sending a link to schedule a discovery call. And Acuity has payment system embedded in it, which is what I’ll be talking about next. Which payment system is it Gabrielle, is it Square or Stripe? Do you know?
Yes, it can connect to Square and I believe Stripe and also PayPal as well. Acuity is our favorites that we like. It connects to things very nicely. It’s got a nice user interface and it just has all the nice bells and whistles that just make the whole scheduling process so much easier.
Now there’s one other thing I want to say before we move on and that is that if you have been listening to me and are on your own trying to implement the systems I teach, you are likely to have started offering a discovery call or consultation of some sort. Or you may have learned that from somewhere else or heard that somewhere else. Maybe you always had that, some consultation available. I recommend that where you have your scheduling available, you only have one type of appointment available. So for example, if you offer a discovery call or consultation, let’s say that’s on your website, you don’t want a prospective client to then go to a page, click on schedule a discovery call and end up at a page that shows all these other appointment types you have, particularly if there are client appointment types. That’s just confusing them and not actually laying out the sales pathway that we want them to have. So really keep, if you’re sending an individual link out to schedule a discovery call in particular, or consultation in particular. Make sure that it’s only showing that and not all your other appointment types.
Most of these schedules make it really easy to just grab the link for that particular appointment.
I mention that because I’ve been to many people’s websites where I click on schedule consultation and all of a sudden I see join this program or schedule this session and then I actually see all these prices. If they’re still offering sessions and there’s a discovery call, then it becomes like, well, what am I doing here? It’s just confusing. We don’t want to do that.
Okay, great. Let’s get into the second thing to automate in your wellness practice, and that is payments. Now, ideally, what you want to set up for payments with your clients is what I consider a set it and forget it system. So the old way, the session by session way. If you are still selling sessions, you know the pain in the butt of this, which is client comes in for a session and then you charge them. So you collect the money right there and then you hopefully rebook them. That’s all the old way that hopefully, if you’re listening to this, you’re moving away from, or even if you have an online business. A lot of times with the online business, I’ve experienced this with a practitioner recently actually, where first of all the scheduling was not automated so we went in the back and forth and then they sent me a payment link, I think it was to PayPal or something like that.
They sent me a payment link and then I had to pay ahead of time and then we had the session. So we want to move away from this paying by session approach, session by session, and we want to take away any time that it’s requiring for you to manually collect payment. Even if that’s sending a payment link, that’s still this manual process. We want to set it and forget it process. Of course, the easiest way to do this using the client champion formula is you have a discovery call, you enroll somebody in a program that’s going to get them results and right there in the enrollment call, in the discovery call consultation, whatever you call those, whatever you call yours, you collect the payment. That covers the whole program, that covers the whole process.
And people still can be on a payment plan where they’re paying month by month, but you’ve just taken the payment once. You collect the credit card info one time and you set your payment system up to automatically charge them monthly for whatever the length of the program is. Or people can pay all at once, of course. So then you never have to go chasing payments. Again Gabrielle, we were talking about the client experience, like around scheduling. I want to say that the client experience around payments, I’m feeling, when you’re collecting payment from me every time I see you, I’m just feeling the pain of paying instead of, it’s almost the opposite feeling when I have decided to invest in myself and enroll in a program or process and it’s all set up, then I’ve already made the commitment. I don’t actually think about the money after that. It’s already getting charged and now I get to focus on coming in or showing up for the service and doing the work. So, so much better for the client and so much better for you, automate your payments and put those on a schedule?
This is really one of those most important places that you do want to remove any sort of roadblocks or delays or any time issues that could come up, anything that stops someone from just moving forward with this decision that they’ve made.
Totally. It’s really a deterrent. This is where I’ve been sharing in other episodes about how a programmatic approach is different from a pack of sessions. To be really clear, you could have a pack of 12 sessions or you could have a three-month program that happens to be once per week. That’s the same number of sessions, but it’s very, very different energetically when the enrollment process, when I’m stepping into this program that has a process and is going to get me to a certain place. That’s very different than just 12 sessions. Part of that energy is that investment right from the beginning. Yes, this is what I’m doing. It’s really different than if I were buying a pack of sessions. What’s fascinating about it is if I’m buying the pack of sessions, I actually don’t want to get to the end because all it’s doing is like using up the money I put in and then I potentially have to pay again versus that program that’s getting me to a particular place and then I’m like an achievement. There might even be a next level for me, but it’s like this container with this idea that I’m getting somewhere and I hit some milestone or I hit these achievements by the end. It’s really, really different energy.
Yes, it certainly is. Nowadays there’s so many different payment processors and platforms that just make this process so much easier for us to accomplish that end result, that end goal. I mean, there are so many that have that virtual terminal in them, they have that point-of-sale process that just allows you to just take their credit card, enter it in, and then it just automatically bills them on whatever schedule you guys decide and then it’s just done. You guys don’t have to worry about it. It’s like a big weight off your shoulder. You’re not worrying about whether or not they’re going to click that link. When are they going to click that link? Are they going to come in and pay tomorrow? There’s just so much less anxiety around the whole process.
Yes, yes, that so much easier, so much less anxiety. I want to point out that when the payments are coming in, when somebody is getting charged no matter what, and the payments are coming to you no matter what, that’s actually what allows you to take a week off if you need. That means the payments are coming in no matter what. You’re just, maybe let’s say you would take a week off, you’re just extending out their services, but the payment happens anyway. I’ve had people who say, I went on this great three-week vacation, but it sucked because I was not making any money in that time.
You can keep making money on vacation. Yes, you have services to fulfill for that money, but you can keep making money when you’re on vacation, when it’s on that automated payment plan. And these automated payment plans are why cancellations don’t happen when you enroll people in programs. Nobody’s giving up their sessions. Nobody gives up their sessions that they’ve already paid for or are going to be automatically paying for no matter what. Nobody gives them up. You might have somebody that needs to reschedule for like a legitimate reason. If you’re in-person, it’s like their kid has a performance that night or something like that. You might have some legitimately reasoned rescheduling, but you do not get cancellations. So a lot of stuff I put out there says, cancellations become moot when you go to this approach and this is why nobody’s giving up their sessions when they’ve invested in it.
Gabrielle, you mentioned some of the features that we recommend that you look for. So one of them is if you have an online business, you need to have a virtual terminal. That means that you can take payment on your, this is like your online consultation or discovery call. You collect the payment right there through this virtual terminal and you charge the person for whatever the payment is or the payment plan is. Now, if you’re an in-person practitioner, I think it’s called point of sale, so you need some way to actually physically take the credit card and swipe it through. You actually could use a virtual terminal, even in an in-person business and just type in the number just like you would with an online business.
That’s one feature that you’ll need to look for in a payment processor. The second one is one that allows you to do the payment plan automatically. So what that’s usually called is subscription billing or recurring billing. That’s different than I’ve seen some processors have something called recurring invoicing. That’s not what that is. Usually, recurring invoicing sends a bill to somebody on an automated schedule. We’re not doing that. We’re setting up the payments to begin and it automatically charges them. So subscription billing or recurring billing. I do want to note you correct me if I’m wrong, Gabrielle, I’m not aware, I know a lot of people use PayPal, we’ve never recommended PayPal because I believe it doesn’t offer this, I think there is a paid version of PayPal that does, I believe, but I don’t know anybody who uses a paid version of PayPal because you can get these services free with other processors.
Generally, why to go with a platform that is, I mean, you might have to pay a little bit extra for those features, but going right for just PayPal or say just Stripe, they’re not really designed to have those ease of use systems and features. They’re designed to be connected to something else to take payment. So you might be using say, Wave or another platform and Wave will be your virtual terminal and it might be connected to Stripe or connected to something else, but that’s Stripe and PayPal. They’re doing their stuff on the back end and then your virtual terminal or payment system is doing the stuff on the front end that you’re interacting with.
So that actually sounds a little complicated and maybe we want to talk a little bit more about this. We’re not recommending one particular payment platform here. It’s really a matter of what other software you’re using. But for example, we talked about Acuity a minute ago, so what Acuity, how do we do that? We do that with Square, is that right?
So Acuity would be like your front end system and then either Stripe or Square or PayPal would be your payment processor.
Okay, so we wouldn’t recommend PayPal because it wouldn’t allow virtual terminal and subscription billing, correct? There’s all kinds of different payment services out there. What do we recommend? Because I think we don’t recommend PayPal because it doesn’t have the features we want. What do we recommend?
One of the ones that has the most features out there is Stripe. It is a very powerful payment processor. Another one that a lot of our students use is called Wave, Wave Accounting. That has a nice virtual terminal in it. It’s got a really nice user interface that’s easy to use. But yes, there are tons out there and a lot of even practice management systems might have it built in. So definitely do a little bit of research, poke around, almost all of them will let you have a free 30-day trial or try out the features thing. You can play around with it, do some tests, see which one works best for you.
Yes, great. So the two features you want, virtual terminal and then some subscription or recurring billing. You just mentioned Stripe. If you were using Acuity, for example, Acuity integrates with Stripe, correct? So you could be basically having your own all in one system. I have clients who do that and I know it works great. It even is set up automatically so that when somebody signs up for a particular program, it just is right there. It automatically knows what the billing process is for it and boom it’s just stick the client in. But like we said, all of these are free that we’re talking about and Wave accounting is another one. That could be great if you have an online business. Many others, although PayPal is the one that doesn’t do these things.
Yes, it’s a little bit harder to use.
Okay, so the first thing to automate in your business, your scheduling, get an automated scheduler. The second thing is your payments. We want automated payments. The third thing we’re going to talk about is getting now into the marketing realm. This is actually a fairly advanced topic, but let’s see if we can break it down. What this is is automating your marketing process, the process of marketing that we call Long-Term Nurture. That’s the name of the automation we build for our clients, LTN, Long-Term Nurture. I want to refer you listening back to my marketing life cycle framework if you haven’t listened to episodes where I talk about that. We’ll put a link in the show notes and you can download that for free. In the marketing life cycle, it lays out various stages of marketing, and I know it’s really common to think that marketing is just putting out a blast to get somebody to buy your services.
Really marketing is about attracting an audience and nurturing an audience. It’s not yet about selling. Sales is different from marketing. Sales is once you start inviting people to actually to buy something. But, in this case, when we’re talking about long-term nurturing, this is about nurturing. So let me just break down a little bit of why we’re talking about this next. That is because if you are a practitioner that has had clients or has people reaching out to you, scheduling discovery calls, all of those people can, through your scheduler, end up in your list. We call that a list. So it’s like former and current clients and even prospects and leads end up in some list. You listening out there, you may have a list that you do nothing with. I think a lot of people come to me and they say, “Oh yes, I have MailChimp.”
MailChimp has a free version, but they don’t do anything with those people. Sometimes practitioners come to me and there’s like, actually hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people on that list. If you’ve been in business for 10, 20 years, you might have a thousand people, a thousand contacts. If you’re not nurturing them, oh that’s like, that is the low-hanging fruit. That is your low-hanging fruit. It is so much easier to nurture people that already know you and then invite them to take next steps with you, so much easier to do that than to go find brand new people who have never heard you and get to know them. These are already the people that to some degree know, like, and trust you.
The metaphor I use in inside the leadership cadre is that this is your own personal pond of fish to fish from. It’s like you, they’re your own fish sitting there that when you and want to invite somebody to a sales process to purchase something that’s like putting your fishing rod in your own personal pond. However, if you haven’t been feeding those fish, they’re dead. There’s nothing to fish from. So that’s actually what Long-term Nurture is. Long-Term Nurture is about feeding those fish. It’s about feeding your own personal pond that you have. You got to feed the fish if you expect to actually be able to go fishing and catch something and eat it. Is that an awful metaphor? We’re not catching our clients or eating them.
We’ve serving them. The best thing about this whole long-term nurture idea is that there’s been oodles of marketing studies done that just says that people need more time and more touchpoints before they buy. The chances of someone coming in off a Facebook post or an ad you’ve put out or something like that, and becoming a buyer right away is super, super, super slim, but is a lot higher for that person to come into your world and then 30 days down the road, 90 days down the road, 120 days down the road become a buyer after experiencing between seven to 30 touch points. These customers actually tend to be better than the ones that just come off of a random Facebook post or rather advertisement.
Yes, great point. Now, if you as a practitioner are not actively inviting people to your list, we’ll talk about that in the next thing to automate but if you’re not actively inviting people to your list in some way, then your existing list right now, as I said before, is people who you have either already worked with or it could go years back or people who have already reached out and inquired. Those are the people. If you for example, help people that are in pain and they’re doing a Google search and finding you that way, those are people that are looking to buy right now, but they still may not have bought from you. In which case, this is what we’re talking about with Long-Term Nurture.
With Long-Term Nurture, we’re talking about not sales, not saying buy this, we’re not talking about email blasts where you’re sending to your list, “Hey, book a session. Hey, book a session.” No, nurturing means you are speaking to their pains and problems and goals and desires, and you’re showing them that you see them and you’re giving them some inspiration and tools and understanding of their problem to move them further, closer, I should say, to move them closer to being ready to start with you. This takes a bit of skill. Like you have to really understand, you have to really understand who your people are and some of the things you can address in your long-term nurture, I think I talk about this back in the back in season one, I did an episode called Get Better at Marketing, and I talk a bit about this and what nurturing looks like.
It’s just key to understand that it’s not about selling. It’s also not about a ton of content where you’re teaching and educating, because that actually is not going to move people forward either. So you might want to go back to that episode and listen. Gabrielle, do we want to share how we, what it means, the Long-Term Nurture and how we set it up? Because the thing is all of you out there, you could be sending regular emails live time, but what I find is that if you’re a busy practitioner, it can be really hard to have that time and energy to, we’re told to show up consistently and it’s like, wow, an email every week or every two weeks or twice a month, whatever. It can feel like a lot to do. So I encourage our clients to automate this to some extent. Let’s talk about what our automation for that looks like. This is what we actually install in our client’s businesses.
Yes, totally. The biggest idea behind the long-term nurture sequence is that it’s split up into quarters. So essentially, you’re sitting down and you’re putting a little bit of effort all at once into writing a quarter’s worth of content, whether that’s, like you mentioned once a week or every other week, however you decide that frequency is you just sit down and you write those email newsletters out. Then you just load it all into said automation. The way that we have our automation set up is that nobody receives a quarter more than once. So it’s set up that if someone’s already received that first quarter, well they’ll just go into the second quarter and the third quarter and the fourth quarter, and it’ll just move them through getting these little bits of touch points on a regular basis so that you don’t have to sit down and go, “Oh my gosh, I had a super slam day and I forgot to write my newsletter and it’s supposed to go out tomorrow. What am I going to do?” So your options there either cram and get it done, and it might not be the best work you’ve ever done or skip it. Then you’re losing out on that touchpoint, on that nurture opportunity.
Yes. It’s awesome because what it means is that you know that anybody that ends up on your list is automatically getting nurtured by you. What’s beautiful, this is about feeding the fish, it’s like you’re feeding the fish so that when, first of all, they may just come to some point through your nurturing where they’re like, oh my goodness, I got to take action, I got to do this, that’s good nurture content will do that. We’ll bring somebody to that point where they’re like, okay, I need to, let me schedule a session or let me schedule a consultation. But furthermore, if you then do send out a live email where, for example, you want to offer something, maybe you’ve created a new program that you want to announce and share with people, or maybe you have some new offer or some new thing going on when you reach out to your list about that they’ve been nurtured all along.
They already know that you see them, that you understand them, that you can help them. They already understand what you are about and who you are and so then it’s such an easier yes for them to come forward. I talk about don’t sell to strangers. This is the opposite of that. This is like, these are not strangers, this is your people, this is your audience and you’re nurturing them all along. As we said, you do this in a way where nobody’s getting the same content over and over. So we have it all split up in this beautiful way. In our system, in our automated system that we install for clients, what happens is say somebody, this is all assuming that you use the client champion formula, which is discovery call to a program, and then they enroll in the program.
If somebody schedules a, when I say discovery call, that can be your consultation, that can be your assessment, different practitioners call it different things. But if somebody does schedule, and let’s say they apply for that and go through your filters and don’t qualify for you, let’s say they don’t qualify and you don’t even have the consultation with them, they will end up in your long-term nurture. That was a lead that didn’t qualify now, but in the long run they might. For example, part of the qualifications I teach is essentially determining whether somebody’s ready, willing, and able to invest in themselves right now.
They may say, “No, I’m not ready, willing, and able to invest in that right now.” That doesn’t mean that they won’t be ready in three months, six months, 12 months, a year and a half. That’s what’s amazing. I get people who come off my list after a year, year and a half, two years. Even when I owned the gym, which was a local brick and mortar business, and I had very regular nurturing, I had people who would show up and say, I’ve been reading your emails for three years. I’m finally ready. It absolutely can happen that way. So long-term nurture, what else do we want to say about that? Gabrielle,
It’s just so effective. Honestly, practically from a marketing standpoint, you’re going to actually keep a lot of people in your world if you nurture them longer term. Because when you have those emails that you send out about, say, an event coming up or a new program that you’ve created or something timely that’s happening or something that you want to send out, you’re going to get less people going, who is this and unsubscribing and removing themselves from your world.
Okay, great. So now we’ve got your scheduling automated, your payments automated, your long-term nurture, which is super effective for your marketing. Now let’s talk about our fourth one that we’ve identified and this is another one that we install for our clients, and that’s a lead magnet and welcome sequence. This is how you get people on your list when they haven’t already come forward and scheduled a call with you in some way or scheduled an assessment with you. You can build your list and build your audience even without offering services and you offer instead something that’s free. There’s different names for that. We call it a lead magnet. Some people call it a freebie. The thing is, it might even be a free workshop. It can be an event, it can be a thing, what are other examples, Gabrielle?
It could be a resource. It could be a video you do, it could be a PDF you send. It could be so many different things.
It could be so many different things. A lot of our clients in the leadership cadre do speaking, speaking events and workshops as part of their lead generation. So this is what we’re talking about, like how do you get in front of brand new people is lead generation but then you need to capture those leads so that you can nurture them and then invite them into your sales pipeline. Right now, we’re talking about how do we capture them? That is through having something that you can offer them for free in exchange, essentially for their email and they end up on your list. So really simple ways, when I say that many of our clients have workshops, I do the same thing. Or I do podcast guesting, that’s one of my primary lead generation methods and so what happens is I go on somebody else’s podcast and at the end I offer a free training to anyone listening that wants to learn more. If I do a workshop, I offer a free resource related to what I taught in the workshop to everybody that was there and they’re opting in to get that. So we’re getting that opt in to our email list. Anything else you want to say about that?
Yes, that’s essentially it. The biggest thing is that it has to be something worthwhile their time. Because when something’s free, it’s actually harder to get people to sign up for something free because it’s taking up their time and they have to really be worth it to them.
It’s got to be something that they want. It’s also got to be really related to what you provide. A good way to to think about it is what’s a first step, in even like a belief system, a first step in somebody’s belief that they need in order to start doing the work that you do. That’s a good way to think about it. We want to avoid things like in general, this is not the case for everybody, but things like tips and tricks because that is likely to just get somebody who just wants free tips and tricks and is not necessarily going to be moving forward. So once somebody opts in for this thing that you’re offering, you also want to have, and this is all done automatically is some initial welcome sequence that essentially introduces you at a deeper level to this person who’s brand new to your world.
When we were talking about long-term nurture before all those people were already on your list because they already had reached out to you in some way. Well, anybody who opts in for a lead magnet will end up in your long-term nurture as soon as they finish your lead magnet, welcome sequence. But we want that welcome to sequence, to be this immediate like, hey, here’s who I am and here’s what I’m about and here’s what it means to be on my email list. This is who it’s for. And it’s okay to get people to unsubscribe right then if you’re being really clear about you belong here, if you are this and this and this. If somebody reads that and goes, “That is not me at all,” you want them to unsubscribe. This is a great place to be filtering people in or out. You want to really show the right people. I see you and you’re in the right place and welcome to my world.
The welcome sequence is really your perfect tool to be able to, like you mentioned, filter out the people who are the best for you and not the best for you. Also really show up as exactly what you want to present to these people, who you are, what you believe in, what you do, how you help the perfect people you work with, and really laying all that ground workout so that once they get to that long-term nurture, they’re not guessing, they’re not second guessing as to like why they’re still here. They know exactly why they’re still on your list and still in your world.
Great point. The next part of your business that should be automated is one that I talk about all the time. It’s huge. It’s one of my favorite topics and that is your sales pipeline. We have fairly, I don’t know, in some ways they’re simple, but in some ways fairly complex automations for the sales pipeline. Again, we install these for our clients. So let’s share a little bit about what that looks like, Gabrielle. I mean, first of all, our sales system, we call it the predictable sales system. It all starts the beginning of the sales pipeline starts with somebody, somebody scheduling a consultation, discovery call assessment that’s all designed, the title is designed by you. That’s the beginning of the sales pipeline and it goes all the way through to the end of the consultation itself and you come back to your system and you actually mark somebody. Did they become a client? Which program did they join or did they not?
If they don’t become a client just to note, then they go right into long-term nurture. Beautiful. They absolutely may come back in the future or they may even refer you to others if they had a great experience in your sales process, even if they didn’t join. But this sales pipeline sure does do a lot to help people be aligned and calling the right people and enroll really great people. So we have two different sales pipeline automations. We have one for our brick and mortar in-person businesses and one for our online businesses, but they have the same features, essentially somebody schedules an initial consultation and there’s some filtering process.
You’ve probably heard me talk a lot about this. I talked a lot about the red velvet rope policy and so for our online businesses, that’s an online application and for our in-person businesses, that’s a pre-qualifying phone call. That’s all built into the automations. So the phone call you as the practitioner actually need to have, but it’s all automated how it’s set up. I wonder how far into the details we should go, Gabrielle, but I mean, I just want to note, we didn’t bring somebody who uses this on here, but it makes things so easy. For example, in-person practitioners that have built our system and been through our programs, their website will say schedule a free phone consultation and it’s like a 15-minute phone call.
They do that automatically. The prospect does that automatically. They schedule a phone call. I did forget to say earlier about the, when we were talking about automating your scheduling of sessions you want to be very conscientious and intentional behind setting up the reminders in your scheduler. I would not just go to whatever their defaults are. I don’t know what the default settings are in the various schedulers, but you want to go in and really choose how to set up the notifications and you want to customize those notifications as well to note where you’re meeting and any other details that need to be in there.
When somebody schedules a 15-minute phone consultation with you, again, there’s no phone tag, they’ve set that up, they’ve been getting reminders from your automated scheduler, including, what I always recommend is there’s three email notifications and then there’s a 10-minute before SMS notification. So you don’t get people not available for the phone consultation, they’re ready, you go through the pre-qualifying process and then you simply tag them. Did they qualify or they didn’t? If they qualified, you have scheduled the in-person assessment with them. From there we send out, again, this is all done automatically, but from there the prospect is automatically sent a little nurture campaign via email, which is awesome. We call it the prime and prep campaign.
Now for our online businesses, you don’t have the phone call. Instead, the prospects are scheduling a consultation, discovery call, whatever it’s called and that’s about an hour long and then they’re immediately taken to an application, an online application. So they complete that. I don’t know if you, I’m just blabbing away, Gabrielle, but you might want to pipe in but we have all these super neat pieces built in where, for example, if a prospective client with me, for example, because this is in my business as well, schedules a discovery call with me and then doesn’t complete the application, they start getting reminders, “Hey, you got to complete this application.” That’s automatically being done. I don’t have to do anything.
It even gives them a heads up by like the third time it’s like, “Hey, I’m going to be canceling this if you don’t complete that,” and generally people complete it by then. So once that’s completed, then it initiates the prime and prep sequence, which is like the first prime and prep email. This is part of what we build in the Business (R)Evolution Academy, so definitely plugging what you get in there, but that first email is just an awesome, awesome origin story on your part where you’re really sharing some stuff about you and connecting to this person who you’re going to be meeting. It really does build this like really strong know, like, trust factor before you meet them for the consultation, which has been great. So this is, I’ve said a lot of details about the sales pipeline and there’s even more. You want to add anything or pipe in with anything, Gabrielle?
Well, I mean, the whole idea behind these automations is that the automations themselves are actually quite complex, but they’re designed to be incredibly simplistic to the people that are interacting with them. So as your client’s booking the discovery call, filling in the application form, just getting these emails and reminders and stuff, it’s not too much. They don’t have to jump through too many hoops and they’re just getting the information they need at the right time in the right format that just pushes them along this whole process of working with you. By the time you actually sit down to have either your in-person consultation or your discovery call, if you’re an online business, that person knows who you are, knows what to expect. You very rarely get canceled calls because people have know so many reminders that they can’t not put you in their calendar. It’s all connected automatically. We have all these platforms that just work lovely together.
Yes, and they’re also so excited. It’s not that they’re not, it’s not that they don’t cancel because they got so many reminders, it’s because this process is more than just the reminders. It’s actually this engagement. They are excited for their call with you or their session with you.
Well, and the way we’ve built them too is that they’re really personalized for your business and your personality and stuff. They’re not just getting like robotic reminders. They’re getting these lovely worded emails from you and you’re laying out what they can expect and who you are and it’s all coming, it’s all very personalized so that it doesn’t feel like they’re going through like this robotic sales pipeline. It’s a very organic feeling to them.
A hundred percent. For practitioners who use this, if you listening were to implement this thing, it’s amazing, it sets you apart. I mean, it really sets you apart and shows that you have your ish together. It really shows that you care about your business and you care about your clients and you care, care about your service, that you have created this process that makes it so easy for your prospective client and really, really nurtures them and shows them the way. I will note that, I once got a client in the Business (R)Evolution Academy who got to me because she was the client of one of my clients, and went through my client’s sales process, signed up with her, and then said, “How did you learn how to do all that?” So my client gave my name and that person came and joined. It’s impressive what I mean? It’s impressive because it really shows that you care.
Well, there’s that level of professionalism too, that people feel safe.
Yes, exactly, exactly. People feel safe. There’s also this expression of, yes, it’s a professionalism, but it’s an I care and it’s an I know my boundaries and I am leading you on this path which is, it’s just, it could not be more different of an experience than what we started this episode talking about where, and again, I’m the client of many practitioners, and I just hold my tongue. They may not know what I do for a living, but I recently was working with someone and it’s like I have to email them to get an appointment, and then they send me a PayPal link and the first time I met with this person, it was supposed to be some chat, but it was a drawn-out process of even figuring out when to get the chat. Then I show up not knowing anything about this person and going like, “What are we doing here?”
Then I even show up on the call and don’t know what’s going on. That’s the consultation process that we teach and so on. It’s a night and day difference. You’re really, it’s making, for you as the practitioner too, it’s a wonderful enrollment system. I can talk all day about sales process, but those are the automations or that’s a glimpse into the automations we build and we teach and then we build for our clients. Now, the next thing to automate is what happens when somebody becomes a client? They go through that sales pipeline, they’re your perfect client, and you invite them in and they’re like, “Heck yes.” They say yes, and you set up their automatic payments and that’s all going. Now it’s about you’ve got this great new client and now it’s about serving them as well as you can. The next piece to automate in your business is, you could think of it as the client service or we initiate it by calling it the onboarding. Onboarding is how a new client is welcomed into your business. You want to say anything about that, Gabrielle?
Absolutely. The big idea behind this is once someone buys, they’re actually very vulnerable after that. So the more that you can do to make someone feel reassured and safe in that decision and excited about continuing to work with you and this whole program that they’ve signed up for, the better experience they’re going to have. The worst thing that you can do is be like, okay, let’s get started, I’ll take your money and then it’s radio silence for however long until you start. This onboarding process that we’ve designed is really that, I don’t want to call it stock gap, but it’s a period of time between when they say yes and when they actually start working, that you can nurture them and you can welcome them and you can just really like support them in that.
I think that a lot of people, I’ll say this, in the online business world, which many of you listening are not in, and that’s just fine but in the online business world, onboarding often refers to these very logistical pieces of like, signing up for this account and here’s passwords and so on. That absolutely can be part of onboarding if that’s part of your services. If, for example I recommend that all my clients have client agreements, getting a client agreement signed is going to be part of just this logistical stuff that has to happen. If you are providing online curriculum, let’s say, then yes, people need to get passwords and so on. So yes, there’s that practical stuff but we’re talking about, what I’m talking about with onboarding is actually, just as you mentioned, Gabrielle is doing quite a lot more than just these really logistical pieces and really welcoming somebody in, like giving them a big hug.
If you’re an online business, you don’t get to hug them. So giving them that big hug. In in-person businesses, this is no different. You may be able to get your client agreement signed right there in the office. Great. You may be able to tell them right then that you’re going to send them a password to something if they need that or whatever but one thing that you can think about what onboarding can be is what is the information? What are the belief shifts? What are the pitfalls? How to avoid the pitfalls that somebody who’s just starting these services needs. I don’t mean pitfalls they need, but what are the pitfalls they can avoid, be aware the right information, be aware of and avoid.
That’s what you want the onboarding. Again, this is automated, you want an automated onboarding sequence that is giving your new client the nurturing. It really is nurturing them and giving them what they need to be most successful in their services with you. So again, onboarding, some people might just think of it as like the first week or two. Your onboarding might go on for 12 weeks. I will just note that I had an onboarding email sequence in my gym when I owned it and our minimum membership amount was three months but our onboarding sequence went on for three months. Most people though, joined six months or one year. One year was our what most people joined us.
The onboarding sequence was 12 weeks of very specific nurturing content that really paid attention to where a client generally would be at like three weeks, at four weeks, at five weeks. For example, very early on we would address soreness, what soreness means, how to deal with it, because when somebody’s first joining a gym or a fitness program and they’re doing new movements in their life, they’re going to experience soreness. We’re addressing that right off the bat. Later on we’re talking about actual lifestyle change. This is all the content of the work. It’s not just this practical logistical stuff, it’s the content of the work. So that’s a beautiful thing to put in place for your clients to serve them even more deeply where it’s providing extra support beyond just when you see them.
And when you look at it at the flip side, it’s actually a lot of problem-solving too, because you can look back into the clients you’ve worked with in the past and you can say, well, this client had an issue with this when we first started, or there was a problem with that when I first started with this client. How can I stop those problems from occurring again and make that whole process just smoother for everybody involved?
Exactly. That’s exactly how you want to do it. This is one of those things that would be developed over time and that you can tweak over time and make it better and better just to serve your clients better and better as you see what’s going on. So real great opportunity. Then the final automation for us to talk about is feedback loops. This actually could be built into the onboarding or client sequence, or it could be its own automation that you build separately. Now, I want to note that there is quite a bit of software out there or systems out there, which I think are good for wellness practitioners, where you may have this in your business where after every session, some text is sent or email is sent saying, “How did you like the service? If you liked it, would you please rate us on,” it might be the Google Business profile or Yelp or leave a review on Google, whatever these various places, and it might link to that.
When I talk about feedback loops, this is a similar idea, but those systems are really built on the session-by-session approach. So we are not actually, when we’re offering programs, it’s not about what happened after each session at all. We are actually trying to move away from that. We’re not looking for a rating after a session because it’s not about what happened in the session. It’s about the accumulation of this work. It’s about this program and process that they’re in. So you’re going to want to spread your feedback loops out a bit. You could have that same system where it’s asking somebody to rate and review you on a public platform, that’s fine but I would suggest spacing it out to knowing at what point in your program are people starting to hit milestones?
You can do this yourself simply by asking for client stories. It could be built into your automation every six weeks or every 12 weeks, where you actually ask a question and say something like, “What’s been your biggest takeaway so far?” Or, “What’s been your proudest accomplishment in our work so far?” You’re essentially, there’s two pieces to this. One is what I already indicated, which is the potential for public reviews or testimonials or client stories that’s there. But when we say feedback loops, most of all what we’re looking for is actual feedback for us as practitioners to know is what we’re doing, how is it sitting with our folks and how’s it going? I will just mention our feedback loops that we have in Business (R)Evolution Academy. We have them built in after every unit. So our program is built into units. Each unit has a number of lessons. The units are based on a theme or topic that we’re addressing.
Let’s say one unit is the program design, we call it provide the ultimate result where somebody is designing their program. Our students are moving through that, we’re working with them, there’s one-on-one work, there’s group work and there’s online lessons. They’re moving through all that. When they’re done with the unit, they’re actually given a feedback form and that feedback form has a combination of things like, what are you most proud of and really their own self-reflection. Then it also gives us very specific data. So we ask the classic, we actually ask a quantitative question on there of a scale of 1 to 10, how supported did you feel in this unit? That’s giving us feedback.
If we see something below a certain number, we actually are getting together as a team, or I’m getting together with our program assistant and going, let’s reach out to this person, see what’s up. Or actually we have a field below that says, “What could we have done better?” We have actually taken some of that feedback and enacted it almost immediately because we’ve gotten some great suggestions. Then for the most part, we get really, really positive feedback, which is wonderful. This is something that you, as a practitioner, you all listening always need to be getting, is that feedback. You want to be getting the feedback, even if it’s how could I have served you better? It’s way, way more effective to be asking for that feedback while people are in services with you than after it’s all over. So you want to, if you’ve listened to me enough, and definitely if you’re one of my clients you know that part of what I believe is building a relationship with your clients where there is straightforward openness and honesty. So that’s what you should be getting in your feedback.
There’s a number of ways to do this and a number of ways you could build it into your automations or build its own automations but this is the idea, is feedback loops that tell you how you’re doing, how could you be doing better and give you potentially the possibility for public reviews. So somebody could give you a great feedback form that’s internal and then you might shoot them, you can even set up automations for this, right, Gabrielle? You could have conditional logic where if somebody says, if you ask the question something like, how likely are you to recommend our services to somebody else, 1 to 10, that’s a classic NPS scoring. It’s called net promoter score. But you could have conditional logic where if somebody clicks eight or nine or 10, they get an immediate email that says, “We’re so pleased,” we had this at the gym, actually, so I’m cheating by saying what we had. But in email that immediately says, “We’re so pleased that you’re happy with our services. If you would be willing, or we would love it if you would post a review on one of our public platforms and we’d link directly to them to do that.” That was for an in-person business.
These feedback loops, they’re really double sided. One, they do get insights into your people as they’re going through your programs, working with you and such. A lot of the times you’ll get feedback that you just did not expect? So it does give you that opportunity to refine the way you’re working, maybe put in place additional support systems to address those needs. I find that, especially if we are seeing those feedback responses that you just really get to see what people are excited about as well and those things that they’re doing well on. It does help you take that into your marketing because you can then promote that as you’re going through and getting people onto your list and into your world and talking about your programs and stuff. Because you’re not just using your own words, you’re using the words of the people who are actually experiencing those transformations and doing the work.
Yes, I love that you brought that up. It’s like food, it’s like energy, it’s like fuel, I love that. That’s great. Okay, so we’ve shared quite a bit here, seven different things in your business to automate. To remind everyone, number one is your scheduling, automate your scheduling. Number two is your payments, automate your payments, so people are only paying once even for a program. Number three is your long-term nurture. The reason we put that next was because if you are somebody that already has a list, even if it’s only 150 people, that’s your lowest-hanging fruit and that’s where you can be doing some marketing right now to pull some new people in, so long-term nurture.
Number four was a lead magnet and welcome sequence. That’s to get people on your list who are not necessarily looking to buy right now. Number five is your sales pipeline. That’s one of my favorite topics, something I talk a lot about in this podcast. Number six is your onboarding process. You could consider it like your new client education campaign is what that might be considered. Then number seven is feedback loops. I have to say right now, if you have none of these done right now, there are two that I would recommend you just get to immediately; number one for sure is the scheduler. If you have not automated your scheduling of your consultations or discovery calls or your client sessions, please make it easier for them and for you. I can’t even imagine how much time is wasted trying to nail down a point. I mean, I can’t imagine because I’ve been through it myself, such a major piece of your time that you do not need to be spending doing that.
That’s what I want to say. That’s your takeaway. If you don’t have an automated scheduler, go sign up for one and do that. Number two would be the payments, and then all those other things I can’t help but plug Business (R)Evolution Academy, Gabrielle. We build those for you. We build the automations for you, and it’s amazing, but we have just shared what they are. So if you want to try and go build them yourself, go for it. Those are the seven things I think that you should automate in your wellness practice.
One thing I wanted to mention before we leave is just that a lot of people think that automations are rigid and hard and structured, but really when we build them in such a way that they are organic and they can be tweaked and adjusted over time as you get stuff back from your feedback loops and they’re really designed to support everybody involved. So don’t be too scared about automating more things in your business.
Yes, they’re an expression of you and it’s your voice that’s coming through this stuff. It’s not a robot, it’s you. It’s an extension of you so that you can be in many places at once without actually having to be. Saves you time, serves your clients better, makes your life so much easier. And what our practitioners say is, oh my goodness, I feel like I finally know what to do, instead of, how do I deal with this? I know what to do. I have these systems built. So it’s great. Okay. Thank you so much for coming on. Gabrielle, our Tech Wizard and Gabrielle provides tech support to all of our clients in the Business (R)Evolution Academy and in the leadership cadre. So if you were to join us, you’d get to work with her. As I always say to our clients inside, I say, Gabrielle’s so much better than me. She’s like so patient. You’re so patient around this topic that so many people are impatient around. You’re really masterful at what you do, Gabrielle. Thank you for being here.
Oh, thanks for having me.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast and you want to apply what you’re learning here in your business, did you know that you can meet directly with me and ask me questions and get my help when you come to the Practitioner’s Business Round Table? The Practitioner’s Business Round Table is a free gathering for innovative practitioners that I host each month. We meet live via Zoom and when you sign up for a spot, you have the chance to submit your questions beforehand, to get them answered by me at the round table discussion. You can grab a seat for the next Practitioner’s Business Round Table by going to joannasapir.com/roundtable. Let’s go deeper. Come learn more about how to build a fulfilling and profitable practice with long-term clients and stable income. I hope to see your face there.