EP 252: Making New Clients Feel At Home With SmartStart Founder Linda Lopeke

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • Why SmartStart founder Linda Lopeke has every potential client complete a rigorous application
  • How she sets expectations clearly from the get-go so that every client has the best chance of getting results
  • What inspired her approach to business systems and client experience
  • How she makes brand-new clients feel at ease, step-by-step

Starting my working life as a retail worker, I always associated “customer service” with what you do when there’s a problem.

A customer needs to make a return. They have a question about this week’s sale. They need to report a problem with the bathroom.

Despite years and years of training on customer service, no one ever said to me: customer service starts before the customer even walks in the door.

Customer service is having the right product on display. It’s having the carpet freshly vacuumed. It’s having the music at the right level, playing the right songs.

Do customer service right, right from the beginning, and you dramatically reduce the number of problems you encounter during the day.

I didn’t learn that lesson until I started my own business—and really many years after.

For our final episode on our series on designing exceptional customer experiences, I spoke with Linda Lopeke, the founder of SmartStart.

Linda knows that customer service starts long before the first purchase is ever made.

She’s designed her entire client on-boarding system to set clear expectations, ensure fit, and make new clients feel at ease. Instead of crossing her fingers and hoping she doesn’t run into customer service problems, Linda has crafted a process elevates her client experience.

I talked with Linda about the lengthy application process she uses, why she interviews every prospect before they can work with her, and how she brings on a new client step-by-step.

Play close attention to all the opportunities Linda has to set expectations throughout the process and reduce the friction of doing the work.

Now, let’s find out what works for Linda Lopeke!

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With a Mighty Network, online business owners just like you can bring together in one place:

  • Your website
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  • Your courses
  • Your community
  • Your events online and in real life
  • And charge for them…all while building YOUR brand.

Visit mightynetworks.com to see more examples of brands bringing people together and taking their businesses to the next level.

By Tara McMullin

Writer, Podcaster, Producer. Founder of What Works.

Nov 26, 2019

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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.

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!

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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