Creative Cashflow Tip: Think Outside the Transactions

Written by Christine Kane

When it comes to making money, many solo business owners think only in terms of the transaction.

What does that mean?

Well, here’s how a transaction-focused business works:

You put lots of effort into selling your thing.

Someone hires you or books you.  Yay, you got the sale! (Or the date, or the client.)

You fulfill the sale.

Then, it’s over.

Now you gotta go out and get another one.

This is all well and good.  (And like I said, it’s how many people run their business.)

But there’s a problem here.

When your business relies on transactions alone, it’s a lot more effort.  You work constantly to find the buyer, market to the buyer, sell to the buyer, fulfill the sale – and then start all over again.  It’s a lot of energy.

Even if you master this model – (most people don’t) – you’ll eventually run out of hours in the day to fulfill each of these sales – or to keep finding new transactions.

Which is why so many business owners are so freakin’ tired.

In fact, the enemy of the Upleveled business is the transaction.  (Or at least, the transaction mindset.)

So, it doesn’t matter if you’re a realtor, a coach, a wedding photographer, a graphic designer, a speaker or a candlestick maker… if you want a consistently successful business, you have to become what I can an “Anti-Transactionist.”

An Anti-Transactionist lives from this philosophy:

When you get a sale, you don’t get a sale. You get a customer.  Huge difference.

An Anti-Transactionist does one key thing differently from exhausted business owners…

She sets up systems so that one transaction naturally flows into other transactions. She still makes transactions. But that’s never the end point.

How do you do this?

Well, first, you have to start by doing what most solo business owners never do…

You have to create the space to get strategic about how money comes in to your business.

Next, you have to implement the ideas you generate.

Use some of these action steps to get you going:

1 - Sell packages, not hours.

This one thing alone will change your entire business.

Rather than make an appointment here and an appointment there, charging dollars for hours – create packages so that you’re not waiting for clients to schedule their next transaction with you. It makes your life (and theirs) much easier.

2 – Create impeccable follow up systems…

Some business models don’t allow for packages. That’s okay.  Then, you must create systems to follow up, reschedule and stay in constant touch with your clients.  (You can do this with packages as well!)  Dick Benson said: “It’s three times easier to get a second sale from an existing customer than a first time sale from a non-customer.”  So true.

3 – Create referral systems

Referrals are not just little mysterious blessings that happen by chance.  Every customer you work with is connected to hundreds of other people. Learn how to engineer referrals to extend transactions infinitely and effortlessly.

4 – Always know the very next step.

When you fulfill a transaction – whether it’s a speaking gig, a corporate training, a seminar, writing your book – always think in terms of the VERY NEXT STEP.  What is the next step the prospect or client can take?  Once you know this, you can set up each transaction to lead naturally into that next step.

So, if you’re flying around the country doing speaking gigs – and each one of those gigs is the end of the line for the money flow – then you’re a Transactionist.

However, if you engineer a next step where audience members can sign up a VIP session with you – then you become an “Anti-Transactionist.”  You’ve added a “Next Step” that turns your transaction into a lead generator and extended cashflow.

5 – Educate your clients.

“My clients don’t know they need what I do beyond a single transaction.”

“My customers think it’s all about just picking my brain for a single session.”

“My clients just want a quick fix.”

If you ever say anything like this, then guess what?  The burden is on you to educate your clients how you can help them further.  And no, this doesn’t mean you create a brochure called “How I can Help You Further.”  It means you become a marketer and creatively educate your clients by dispelling their doubts, overcoming their objections and addressing their challenges.

Yes, these steps take focus, strategy and work on your part. But when you do them, your cashflow will become more effortless. I promise!

In the comments below, share with me what single step you can take to become more of an Anti-Transactionist in your business…

If you've ever believed it was impossible to be totally authentic AND make lots of money in your business - then you're not alone. Purposeful entrepreneurs want it REAL - and I promise to deliver! Get my FREE VIDEO, and I will walk you step-by-step through my own Uplevel Fast Track Formula for making money... on your own terms and in your own way. Enter your email and let's get started!

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{29 comments ... read them below or add one}

Andrea October 24, 2012 at 8:17 am

Hoi Christine, I love your post because I do love systems. Last Saturday I had my bodylanguage & communication- workshop. There were 11 people. At the end of the day they said: We need more of your knowledge. That just blew me away. They askedme for a follow-up. I love to offer that, but always when it comes to organizing I really feel stuck about the how. I do not know in which format (evenings or weekends)- because I want to make it good for everyone. Is there a secret?
So I guess my next step is: To create the content of the following workshops.
Love, Andrea

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Hey Andrea — Rather than offering follow up workshops – I would consider offering your private trainings with a group intensive workshop thrown in. When you keep offering follow up workshops, you are ultimately continuing to offer the same level for the same people – and eventually, it might be harder and harder to get the same numbers enrolled.

With that said, your business strategies are all about YOU choosing what is the best next step. Take some time to consider this and think about it! And congratulations for your amazing workshop results!

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Marcy Heim October 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

There is a very old saying…”You’ve got to spend money to make money.” I think this relates to your article. You need to be willing to share some of your expertise, offer an free offer to draw people to your site, speak for no fees if it is the right audience, etc. But where your article is so important is you can’t just spend money….you’ve got to think about what it the next step you want them to take from the money/service/product you shared with them and be sure you have a package, product or something to offer. Thanks, Christine. Clearly I heard this before….but I didn’t hear it. :)

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Christine Kane Reply:

You’re welcome Marcy!

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Jeanette Henderson October 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

These are great points, Christine. With a retail product business (widgets) this can be a bit more tricky, however. Customers may make a purchase on your website and then they’re gone. But, if you’ve collected their email, you can follow up and ask them to refer 3 friends in exchange for a coupon or discount toward a future purchase. You can also set up your shopping cart to suggest other products they may like before they complete the sale. Your email marketing might suggest how your products can be used in creative ways they may not have considered or remind them of the value of your product over competitors. You could offer bulk or volume discounts, etc. Your follow up system is so important.

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Christine Kane Reply:

Jeanette – VERY true! Again, if you can sit down and think about next steps, subscriptions, customer loyalty programs. Too often, people in your shoes give up and stop connecting with buyers because of the limiting belief that says, “Well, I guess they only wanted one thing.” Your job is to stay connected and find ways to offer another level or action to them. Thanks for your great input!

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Judy Parsons October 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

As a seller of the # 1 gift item in America, the next step for all my customers now would be to allow me to help them with their Christmas shopping! I need to contact every customer I can and offer them a Christmas Shopping special! The next step I need to do year round is remind customers of my personal shopper services and ask for referrals.

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Christine Kane Reply:

Judy – Great idea! Let me know how it goes!

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Pidgen October 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

I really think that I “understand” this concept … but I’m getting a bit stuck in my own head with my own business. I sell cakes — great, a product that gets eaten up. Which does mean that the customer NEEDS to buy another one eventually. lol. Does that mean that my “system” should be more about making sure I keep in contact — like asking about birthdays and anniversaries? So that I can “remind” my customer that she NEEDS another cake? I think this is a great first step {creating a calendar for reminders and pat emails saying, ‘Guess what’s coming up?’} But is the true package deal an online class or a DVD or something that is teaching related that allows me to make passive income? Is there something else that I’m missing? I’ve watched so many of your videos assuming that I was going to go in a different venture, but the bakery fell in my lap and now I’m refomulating. LOL. {By the way, I really wanted the Bakery to fall in my lap.}

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Pidgen – That’s wild! I am working on my Gold Mastermind training on referral systems – and the example I laid out for how to self-activate a stream of referrals was a cake business! Anyway – I think you’re on the right track by starting with reminders and staying in touch. Also – you’d be perfect to read “the e-Myth revisited” by Michael Gerber. The story running through the book is a bakery. :) For now – YES, you need to keep in touch with your customers. Do you have a facebook page? Do you have a list? You are working in a visual medium that is also (lucky for you) very addictive… sugar! Plaster photos of what you’re working on each day!

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Tonya Gray October 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

I am currently in those baby step stages of creating an online site for customers to refer friends and to make future purchases. As an artist, it is my joy to create, but not to track sales and leads. I’ve hired a wonderful photographer to take some preliminary photos, and am deciding what creations to offer online.

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Christine Kane Reply:

This takes time, Tonya. But yes, you are in business. And no, you’re not wired to deal with all this stuff. Take it from someone who was in the arts and entertainment world – it’ll pay off if you get even a little better at tracking sales and leads!

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Jennifer Flint ~ The Aura Reader October 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

This is really useful information. I was actually thinking just yesterday of setting up a package of aura and tarot readings and/or counseling for my clients, because I really prefer to spend more time helping one person than less time working with many (although I’m happy to do single sessions as well, of course).

But I find that more profound transformations tend to happen in the more extended format, and I’m the type who really cares about my clients and wants to be involved in their progress anyway.

Thanks for the encouragement and the great ideas – eerily appropriate as usual. Hey, I think you might be psychic too! :)

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Christine Kane Reply:

Jennifer — I’ve been told that I am! But mostly I just experience it as being very present to my clients. :) Thanks for the response. I like your thought process here!

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Alice Osborn October 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Hi Christine,
I needed to read this post today–I’m a writer who trains writers–this year I offered a 6-week, 2.5 hr beginning, intermediate and advanced memoir workshop series. My packages include one-on-one editing, coaching and an online correspondence class. From your comments, it sounds like I also need to provide a memoir coaching circle that’s only offered to the memoir graduates–am I on the right track?

Thanks so much for everything you do!
xoxo,
Alice

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Alice – Do the graduates get sad when it’s time to leave you? I’ll bet some of them do! That’s definitely a time to offer another deeper step with you and others who are doing this work. It’s up to you if you want to make it something more “maintenance” based or more “mastery” based. Two very different ways to approach the next step. What do THEY want or need the most?

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Alice Osborn Reply:

Hi Christine,

Got it–most of them want to “Finish Their Memoir” which is mastery. That could be the title of the next step for them.
Thank you!
Alice

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

LOVE it!

Herdis Pala October 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Girl was this article what I needed or what?!?!? I´m stuck in transactions!
Companies keep calling me for presentations, workshops etc. so I don´t have/take the time to finish my e-book, my home-study-program and other things I want to sell through my website (www.herdispala.com).
I´m getting better at selling packages to my coaching clients though and don´t take any new cocaching clients for less than two months but I have to become more systematic in my coaching packages…..

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Herdis – Yes! Definitely get more strategic in how you put together your offer. If a company calls you, think about how you could make it lead to something else – or raise your prices! That time you carve out to finish your e-book, etc, will bring in longer term income, which is crucial!

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Stacy October 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Christine, I’ve been reading your posts for several months now. This post resonated for me. I run a consulting firm where I run workshops and do coaching around negotiation and conflict resolution. Great client base – domestic, international, for profit, not-for-profit, small and large companies as clients. We do good work. Yet I am convinced I’m leaving TONS of value on the table – my practice is actually very transactional even though I have some long term relationships with clients. Every time I think about how to do better (and to target an unreached market), I get almost paralyzed by the what-ifs so my ideas never get very far. And, I’m both a perfectionist and a procrastinator which also serves to stop me in my tracks. Where would you recommend I start? Visioning? Elsewhere?

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Leela Sinha October 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Hi, Christine, I love the idea of moving away from transactions, but I struggle to get my clients out of the time-for-money mindset. The things I do (coaching and bodywork) are both very entrenched in the x-per-hour idea, and if I give a package price, I can just see people working out the per-session price even when there are all kinds of other things of value included in the package. As I consider using some of my other skills to reach more people (public speaking! workshops!) and bring the entry price down, I feel like I’m barking up the wrong tree–I know in my head that my prices are not too high and that money is the reason people give but it isn’t actually that much of a barrier–but I have other reasons why I want to work with rooms of people (I miss it! I was good at it!). And I’m struggling with how to stop it being exactly as you described: flying around the country doing speaking gigs that are the end of the line, assuming I can fill the room to begin with. I was thinking of a followup workshop, but now I see you’re suggesting speaking gig/initial workshop–>individual coaching package with a group component–>and then what? Two steps doesn’t feel like enough; how do I find out where the hunger in the room is so it can be in place when I begin?

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Ahulani October 25, 2012 at 2:33 am

Dear Christine,
Thank you so very much for this oh so timely and helpful piece. I am having the last session of my 3 month package with my absolutely divine ideal client tomorrow and I have been thinking about “what’s next?” and am stuck. I have been doing a healing session with her by phone which has been very helpful to her. She has had just extraordinary results and although some of her symptoms are still here, she says she doesn’t care because the other changes have been so magnificent. I am blown away by her and love her dearly.
Here is my dilemma: I know she could benefit by more sessions and would love to continue our work together. Should I just say that to her and see if she wants to buy another package?
I don’t know what else to say. I have included a cd and some report or some supportive gift each week or so of the sessions. I have a feeling I should just talk it over with her and see what she feels she needs for support now. But I am not sure how to price it. I don’t want to charge by the session, but honestly, that is the baseline for how I figure out my package.
What advice do you have for me? I would love to have a session with her weekly or every two weeks. I think I could also ask for referrals now too.
Any thoughts you have would be so helpful.
Love,
Ahulani

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Laura Knights October 25, 2012 at 8:51 am

Christine, I love your work! I created a faith-based curriculum for adult women to be able to facilitate small spiritual development/life skills groups with teen girls. I know that my market is small, so I also created a interactive journal for the teen girls that can be used as a companion to the group or used independently by a teen girl. My “clients” (those who will actually purchase the products) are churches, schools, the adult women that want to lead a group, and parents (primarily for the journal for their daughters). My “anti-transaction” move is to collect emails (for a quarterly newsletter) and offer an intensive training for the women that will lead the group on how to effectively use the curriculum. I also will host “fellowship” events for the women group leaders to stay connected and encouraged, and an annual expo with fun events, entertainment, and breakout sessions for the teen girls. I’m wondering with this type of product, how much more “anti-transactionist” could I be? Should there be more? BTW…just finishing the products, so this won’t actually launch until January. So, much of this is intention that I will put into action very soon! Any feedback is appreciated!

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christine from decorated life October 27, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I love this post! I consider everything from FB, Twitter, pinterest and the blog as part of a sale – whether money is exchanged or not because if they remain on any of those lists they want to keep hearing from you and that is almost as good as a sale. Thanks for the great post Christine..

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Elaine Enlightening October 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Very nice article. I think the one thing that stood out to me to work on is the referral plan.

I see the value in your concept of not being one who focuses on transactions. I focus on honoring my clients, since my work as a healer and spiritual teacher/coach is all about assisting people to face their fears and remove the obstacles. We usually need a coach because we are so busy devaluing ourselves and need non-judgmental guidance to get back on track. There is also the need for clarity and vision. I just want you to know why I appreciate your approach.

I look forward to visiting your blog again!

Blessings!

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Sophie October 31, 2012 at 10:41 am

Hi Christine,

I’m looking at my services and wonder how to value them…how to package them & offer them differently and I’m totally overwhelmed by the follow up. I feel like even with all the info out there, I get confused and not sure what to do with the info. Realising I need a stronger foundation, structure and balance.

Any suggestions are appreciated & Thank you for your posts. :)

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Ahpisarr November 9, 2012 at 2:07 am

I started a business last year where we deliver online professional development courses. However, I now realise that the backbone of the tutoring is now done by tutors over whom I dont have that much control. So it seems like I am handing over my passion to be delivered by another person. Now it is too late for me to step back from this business as I am in a lot of debt – I dont think I made a mistake as such, but somewhere something’s definitely gone wrong. I have completely gone on to being a transactionist, where now the focus is only on paying the office rent, bills, and survival. Any ideas?

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Joyce February 2, 2013 at 12:36 am

This is my first exposure to this concept and I love it! Not sure what to do, however, with my new line of work. I have just rehabbed my first house and am now taking apps to get a renter. I will repeat the process again in the next few months. How can I use your ideas for investing in real estate?
Thanks!

[Reply]

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