To keep giving you relevant and timely content, we update our most popular posts. This article was last updated in May 2021.
Nothing feels better than doing work you love and getting paid for it. And as an online business owner who sells services, products, or programs, you’re pumped that you can help people in massive ways.
This year, you want to reach more people, increasing your impact and your income. But your calendar is pretty empty and your products and programs aren’t selling.
The problem? You don’t know exactly why it’s not working, so you have no idea how to fix it.
I can relate. I tried to sell countless classes and products before I made much money.
But I so clearly remember the first one that clicked. I sold 50 spots in a 90 minute class priced at $67. I then turned that class into an evergreen digital product that eventually made me a consistent, effortless $1000/month once it was set up.
How did I do it? How can YOU do it?
Keep reading to find out.
How to Fill Your Roster, Sell Out Your Programs, and Create Passive Income
Beginning today and for the next four days, I’m going to share with you my hard-fought, business-building lessons so you can hit your goals faster than I did.
You’ll walk through the five steps that will help you fill your roster, sell out programs, and create passive income, so you can get what you ultimately want: to serve more people and increase your income.
No fancy tricks, hyped-up strategies, or trendy, hot-today-gone-tomorrow tactics. Just the proven, established approach to getting the results you want most.
Today we’re going to tackle the very first thing you need to have figured out and nailed before you can fill your roster and sell products and programs.
You may have heard me talk about this before, and that’s because we truly can not talk about this enough. It’s essential whether you’re working to make your first buck or your millionth.
It All Starts With Client Clarity
I’ve said it before, and we’re circling back again because it’s the cornerstone of all business success: To get more clients, you must have laser-focused client clarity.
That means, whether you’re creating one-on-one offers, group programs, or passive income streams, you need to understand your client and her language inside and out.Click to TweetTo sell more offers, programs, and products, you need to understand your clients’ language inside and out.
Knowing her language helps you create sell-out copy that lets her know that you have THE solution to her problem.
If you know you need to improve on this area, the specifics below will help you focus on where to start.
If you think you have this down pat, read through and double-check that you have your bases all covered. It’s essential before you dive into tomorrow’s tip.
Zero in on your client’s most pressing problems
If you’re not having luck selling your services, start by asking yourself some important questions:
- What problem does my ideal client have? How does she describe her problem, in her words?
- What result does my ideal client want that she doesn’t currently have? Again, how does she describe this, in her words?
- How am I going to help her solve her problem or get what she wants most?
Write out your answers. Brainstorm what your ideal clients really want and look at the world from their perspective. Really hone in on the exact words she would use to explain her problems, desires, and dreams.
Make sure her problems are solved by your service, product, or program
Next, revisit your services, products, and programs. Compare the results of your offers to what your clients say they want.
Do your offers help them solve their most pressing needs, as seen from your clients’ perspectives? If not, revise your offers so that you can deliver exactly what your clients want and need.
Update your copy so it speaks to those problems and desires (jargon-free!)
The Jargon Trap is when you know what your client needs (you are an expert at what you do, after all!), and you write about it from your expert shoes. Meaning, you use your own “expert speak” or “industry slang” or “jargon” to talk about what you do, not words your clients understand.
In short, prospects and potential clients have no idea WTF you’re talking about or that you can help them because you’re using words they don’t understand.
Sure, you might know what your clients’ need and be a master at helping them get it, but your word choice leaves them stupefied instead of ready to buy.
Ask yourself this question about everything you say or write: Would my target client use those exact words?
You’re Clear on Your Client but… They’re Still Not Buying
Maybe you’re thinking, “Jenny, I’m clear about my client, and I’m using her language, but I’m still not converting people into clients and customers!”
If that’s happening, it’s a sign that your prospects aren’t 100% sold that you can help them.
The good news is, it’s totally fixable! I’ll be covering it in Part 2.
Your Next Steps
To book up your client calendar and sell out your programs, take these three action steps:
1. Get clear about your clients’ most pressing problems.
2. Be sure that your services, products, or programs solve those exact problems.
3. Make it clear in your copy how you help, with the exact words your clients use.
And if you have any questions, leave a comment below. I’m here to help!
Here’s what’s included in The 5-Step Business Momentum-Builder:
Part 1: How to Fill Your Client Roster and Sell Out Your Programs by Focusing on Your Clients’ Most Pressing Problems
Part 2: The Most Effective Way to Nurture Prospective Clients and Establish Yourself as a Trusted Expert in Your Field
Part 3: How to Use Blogs, Podcasts, and Webinars to Build Your Credibility and Increase Trust with Prospective Clients
Part 4: The Reason Why Clients Are Hesitant to Hire You (and Exactly What to Do to Help Them Take the Next Step)
Part 5: How to Fill Your Pipeline with Perfect Prospects Who Are Hungry to Buy Your Services, Programs, and Products
Katie Zupan says
This is great, I’m going to start looking at my clients closer. I have a few dream clients that I loved working with but I think they found me through social media like Instagram. I make a product that most people tend to buy once and they are done so I’m hoping if I can nail down that language I could attract more!
I’m currently developing my ~real~ website so I’d love to sprinkle in lovely hints of warmth throughout it!
Jenny Shih says
Love that you’ve got your wheels turning, Katie!
Thanks Jenny-I have reading your stuff awhile but never actually did the exercise. I’m new to the coaching business and just finished a website that I worry just needs a total rewrite.
I am a coach who works with working women and particularly moms who feel overwhelmed. They feel stuck and want to figure a way out of the stress. But they also have hopes and dreams they have left behind. Together, we decide what to do so she can leave the stress behind and life her ideal life.
Jenny Shih says
You’ve got a great start, Danielle! This is a challenging exercise that I spend two weeks on with my Make It Work Online clients.
You’ve done a good job sticking to three sentences max and not using run-on sentences.
The next thing for you to work on is using THEIR language and being super clear and specific with it. Words like stuck, stress, hopes, dreams are all generic. They can be used sometimes, but they need much more context or specificity. Stuck with what? Stressed about what? Hopes for what? These kind of details are hard to uncover, but without them, we can’t know exactly who you’re speaking to or how you can help them.
Here are some other blog posts that might help:
Keep it up! It’s hard but worth the effort!
P.S. So glad you posted a comment!
All right-I read these awesome articles and did a little soul-searching. Am I on the right track?
My client has a nagging and restless feeling that something is missing in her life. She doesn’t feel completely fulfilled. What does she want? She doesn’t know exactly. She just wants to find a way to direct her life so she can enjoy it more and not just run on auto-pilot. One of her key challenges is a lack of time to create space in her life to figure this out.
I help women take a step back, get off auto-pilot, and make time to dream and then figure out what’s missing so they can feel more fulfilled. We experiment and explore and then create a plan that works for her life on how the next chapter in her life could unfold.
Jenny Shih says
Creating the right 3-sentence summary isn’t easy and there are a lot of nuances that go beyond what I can put in a blog post, but you are getting closer. The biggest thing I’d have you work on, if you were in Make It Work Online and I was helping you through this like my clients, would be that you are using “your words” when you say “we experiment and explore” (I’m guessing they’re your words, anyway), because most people aren’t walking around in the world thinking to themselves, “I need to get off autopilot, experiment and explore and create a plan for how my next chapter could unfold.”
The goal here is to use your clients’ words almost exclusively. That question (from the “Jargon Trap” post) should guide every single word you use, starting with your summary, then into your offer copy, about page, opt-in offer… everything! Not easy, but so important. Keep at it!
ok! back to the drawing board. I”m doing the 1000 subscribers group now and am forcing myself not to move on to the next module until I get this because it seems so key. Maybe I will share with a few other people and get out of my head. I really appreciate this feedback because you are right we fall into traps where we think our words work. Thanks Jenny…
Jenny Shih says
I love your persistence!! That is key <3
Hi Jenny-I feel bad posting this again but I’m really wondering if I’m hitting something here. It is based on a few conversations with an ideal client. It is quite a bit different than what I posted originally. But this feels exactly right for me though not sure I’m any closer on wording. If I am on the right track, I’m inclined to talk to a few more clients/ideal clients to refine. But it has been really hard to nail their words!
I am a business and life balance coach helping people fill a “missing piece” in their life because they feel there is something bigger and better in store for them. They know deep inside they are not fully using their strengths (dare I say gifts?) in a way that brings them more meaning, motivation, and success. I help my clients figure out that missing piece and how to take a bold step forward. Because my clients value a balanced life, we plan for that bold step so it fits into and even complements their life so they are fulfilled and inspired but not overwhelmed by what is yet to come.
Jenny Shih says
I love a client who keeps at it!
You have the right pieces there. The next step is to make it more concise, take out any “process” and “teaching” language, and make sure each word is exactly what they’d say (not what you’d say).
Those things are hard to do on your own (and why personal feedback is such a crucial part of the MIWO program). For now, go forth and get the word out. Fingers crossed you’ll join me for MIWO this spring — it sounds like you’re in the exact perfect spot to dive in and create the business you’re dreaming of!
Thanks so much Jenny. I am keeping a look out for the MIWO program…all the best.
Karen Trepte says
My social media friends Jenny have helped me sooo much identifying their pain points. I’ve been able to reciprocate by giving them mini sessions which they have enjoyed. So now I have my next question to ask them about the results they are looking for….in a bit…after I make sure I’m of service to them on their questions. Hugs…Karen
Sam Semako says
How about this:
Sam Semako is Career Development Consultant. He helps those who are confused, or frustrated or struggling to start their careers, to find what they need to do with their lives and helps them become an expert in a niche by providing them with significant career-based and business-based information, resources (in form of opportunities and networks), and training via mentoring in order for them to live their dreams and make a lasting impact in a space of 1 year and beyond.
Jenny Shih says
I love when business owners try to get clear and succinct with their messaging!
A few tips…
1. Speak in the first person. I’m a ___ who ___…
2. Check out these two blog posts to help you really get into your target clients’ language so they connect with what you’re saying.
Sam Semako says