The Secret to Staying Booked Solid
by Stacy Karacostas
Here are four ways to make sure your business is booked solid.
Have you ever noticed how every airplane flight you get in is completely full, and some are even so overbooked they start asking for volunteers to change flights?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could do the same in your business? Well, you can.
For the last few years I’ve been booked out anywhere from six weeks to three months in advance for my services.
It’s nice to not always be stressing about where my next project is coming from. And it tells me I’m doing something right—both with the results I get for my clients, and with my marketing.
If you provide a service like consulting, graphic design, Web design, Interior Design, copywriting, etc. you can book yourself out weeks or even months in advance too. All you have to do is follow the airlines’ lead…
The reason flights are always full is that airlines regularly oversell seats by about 30%. They realize that a certain number of people are either going to no-show, cancel or change their flights. So rather than have those seats go empty, they sell more seats than they have and count on this to balance things out.
To do the same in your business, you should always be talking to more prospects than you can serve. Because until you have a signed contract (and maybe a deposit) in hand, and a firm start date on your calendar, that project or client is not a sure thing.
Due to absolutely no fault of your own, a percentage of even the hottest prospects are always going to vanish into thin air. Some may come back weeks, months or even years later. But you can’t be holding up your business waiting on them.
If you have about 30% more prospects in your pipeline than you can actually work with, chances are good you’ll be booked solid.
Of course, in order to do that you’re going to have to do consistent marketing. So get out there and get yourself known for whatever it is you’re best at. If you need help with marketing your small business, check out my other articles on this site and click the link in my bio box to find even more helpful resources.
Once you get your marketing machine in gear, if it’s working right the next big question is…What do you do when you’re booked solid and still have people who want a piece of your time and expertise?
1) Create a waiting list. Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with telling prospects you can’t fit them in for weeks, or even months. In fact, that’s a good thing as it creates a sense of scarcity and says to prospects that you are in demand because your services are top notch. Wouldn’t it be nice to have people paying you a deposit to be on your waiting list…?
2) Keep filling your pipeline. Never stop marketing. Even if you don’t have time to take on a single additional client, you should still have prospects lined up who are interested in hiring you. Because eventually a spot will open on your calendar and you don’t want to be scrambling to fill it.
3) Help more people at one time for less money. Speaking engagements, ebooks, books, membership sites, coaching groups, teleseminars, and workshops are easy ways to bring your services to many instead of only working one-to-one. They let you offer your expertise at a lower cost than hiring you. And they’re terrific marketing tools because they position you as an expert while getting your name out into the world.
4) Raise your rates! If you always have a waiting list of clients you won’t be able to work with for more than 4 weeks, you’re clearly not charging enough. Sure, you might lose a few clients due to the price increase, but you’ll actually be able to give each client more attention, and make more while working less. Then you can focus on #3 and use those avenues to help folks who can’t afford your current rates.
Copyright 2009 SuccessStream/Stacy Karacostas. All Rights Reserved.
Practical Marketing Expert Stacy Karacostas specializes in taking the stress, struggle and confusion out of growing your small business. She's the author of "Putting Your Business on the Road to Success", "The Small Business Website Bible" and more than 200 articles on marketing, copywriting, sales and success. For more information, visit Success-Stream.com.