Podcast Archives | What Works
EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

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EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

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EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.

Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.

Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.

And that launch was a smash.

Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!

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EP 296: Putting The Humanity Back In Sales With Lawyer Autumn Witt Boyd

EP 296: Putting The Humanity Back In Sales With Lawyer Autumn Witt Boyd

Today, I’m talking with my friend Autumn Witt Boyd, the founder of The AWB Firm, which specializes in helping online business owners protect what they’ve built.

Autumn and I talk about why she started tinkering with her sales process in the first place, the speed bumps she experienced along the way, why her sales process ended up too automated, and how she’s taken a more human approach and actually gotten much better results.

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EP 294: Refining Your Offer With SpeakEasy Cooperative Founder Michelle Markwart Deveaux

EP 294: Refining Your Offer With SpeakEasy Cooperative Founder Michelle Markwart Deveaux

Refining the product or service you already offer can be as good—or even better—for giving your business a shot of energy as offering something new.

When you refine or repackage your offer, new people might notice it who passed it by before. New methods of delivery might give you back some serious time. A new price point might unlock a new level of profitability for your business. A new message or angle on what you really offer could open your eyes to a whole new way to market what you do.

In other words, refining your offer could lead to a new, bold vision for your whole business!

This is exactly what I talked about with today’s guest, Michelle Markwart Deveaux, founder of FaithCultureKiss voice studio and the SpeakEasy Cooperative.

Michelle is a voice teacher… as well as champion for voice teachers who want to empower students, performers, podcasters, and voice talent of all kinds to use their voices in powerful ways.

Michelle started out teaching voice with the same kind of offer you’d expect any voice, piano, or instrument teacher to use. Students paid her for each lesson and they called it a day.

But as she started to hate how transactional that method was and how guilty it made her feel for doing work outside of her lessons, she started to refine her offer—and ended up creating a whole new model for teaching voice.

We get into all of that and more, including how she doubled her rates and delivered 3x the value, how she structures her packages, and how she got started teaching voice online. Plus, we talk about how she took what she learned refining her original voice teaching offer and created a new offer to help other voice teachers, too.

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EP 293: Offering Bespoke Services With Flaunt Your Fire Founder India Jackson

EP 293: Offering Bespoke Services With Flaunt Your Fire Founder India Jackson

Offer development is an incredibly important part of running a service-based business. Without a careful strategy and thoughtful process behind how you create value, you are likely to get stuck in the trap of trading time for money or wind up overwork & overwhelmed.

That’s why I wanted to make sure we included a bespoke service-based business in this series on creating value.

I invited India Jackson, the founder of Flaunt Your Fire, a full-service brand visibility agency, to share her approach to how she creates value and constructs the services she offers clients.

India is clear on what her agency does and what it does not do.

She’s clear on why her agency offers the types engagements it does and why some projects just aren’t right for them. And, she’s clear on how her team adds value to the services the agency provides—so India isn’t stuck doing everything herself.

Even if you don’t run a service-based business, this conversation has a lot to offer. Listen in and consider how you might be trying to do too much with your product-based business or how you’ve succumb to making offers that aren’t aligned with your values or best work.

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BONUS: How I Created 2 New Offers When People Asked Me, “What’s Next?”

BONUS: How I Created 2 New Offers When People Asked Me, “What’s Next?”

This is a special bonus episode of What Works–the show that takes you behind the scenes of how small business owners take decisive action to build a stronger business.

This is the first episode in a three-part series taking a closer look at what’s worked for me as I’ve developed a new ways to create and deliver value over the years, both here at What Works and now at YellowHouse.Media.

Today I’m sharing how our latest What Works offer, a live program called The Commitment Blueprint came to be—tracing it from its humble beginnings as the seed of a major life and business shift for me to a successful webinar, to a paid template, and finally to the live program version.

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Host of What Works

Tara is a podcaster, small business community leader, strategist, and speaker. She’s been helping small business owners build stronger businesses for over a decade.  

Tara McMullin, What Works Weekly Newsletter

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