EP 248: What’s Working In Setting Boundaries While Delighting Customers With Coach Nicole Lewis-Keeber

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • What business therapist & mindset coach Nicole Lewis-Keeber does to help her clients identify boundary issues in their businesses
  • Why clear communication is key to have a great relationship with your business and your customers
  • How to renegotiate a relationship that’s run afoul of your personal boundaries
  • What habits and routines you can develop to ensure you’re upholding your own boundaries on a regular basis

Underpromise and overdeliver.

It’s a sound strategy for wowing your customers…

…but it can also be a recipe for burning out.

Unfortunately, plenty of well-meaning small business owners take the “underpromise & overdeliver” mantra to extremes—especially women.

They bend over backwards to make sure their customers are happy—even if their boundaries and values are being trampled.

I’ve seen this phenomenon up close & personal many times. I’ve also seen how taking the uncomfortable step to establish clear boundaries, charge prices that are appropriate for the level fo service being delivered, and realign scheduling can catapult a business into new, exciting territory.

Since we’re focusing on customer experience right now…

…I wanted to spend an episode focused on what creating customer experiences is not.

And creating exceptional customer experiences is not necessarily about underpromising and overdelivering.

It’s not about bending over backwards to fulfill an unreasonable request.

It’s not about spending every waking moment going above and beyond for your clients.

And while those examples might be an extreme interpretation of what ends up happening in many businesses, they’re also what drive many business owners out of service delivery and into business models where they think they can keep customers at a distance—only to find out they bring the same problems with them.

The problem is that exceptional customer experiences—and exceptional customer relationships—start with clear boundaries and expectations.

And that’s just not a social or professional skill that many of us learn.

We’re often rewarded by teachers, romantic partners, bosses, and friends when we compromise our boundaries. We learn to underpromise and overdeliver at a young age—and we keep it up until we just can’t keep it up any longer.

It’s all part of a cycle that I learned about from my friend Nicole Lewis-Keeber.

Nicole is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker turned business therapist & mindset coach who helps entrepreneurs identify the patterns that cause friction and dysfunction in their businesses. She helps them identify trauma of all kinds, rework habits, and redefine relationships—with themselves, their team members, and their businesses.

I wanted to ask Nicole how she helps her clients establish strong & clear boundaries while maintaining exceptional customer experiences in their businesses.

We talked about how to know when you have a boundary problem, why unclear communication is unkind, how to renegotiate boundaries when there’s a problem, and what kind of routines we can put in place to keep boundary issues from happening in the first place.

Now, let’s find out what works with Nicole Lewis-Keeber!

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By Tara McMullin

Writer, Podcaster, Producer. Founder of What Works.

Nov 7, 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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