Do you love tech? Or, are you a little afraid of it? How about automation? Have you considered adding automation to your tasks and workflow but are concerned that it is too complicated or that you will lose a personal connection to your clients?
Beth Kocol, SOWBO member, founder of Studio320 Virtual Solutions, and automation expert, led a training session for her fellow SOWBO members about the benefits of automation. Here are some of her key (read: AMAZING) ideas from that training.
Let’s jump right in with the benefits. (Aren’t these things we are all wanting??)
Automation . . .
#1 Frees up more of your time by taking care of regular, standard tasks.
#2 Conserves your energy by automating tasks that are outside your zone of genius.
#3 Helps you work less and make more because you can spend more time on generating leads.
#4 Creates more clients (which generates more money).
#5 Builds consistent customer experience, which ensures more referrals.
#6 Makes it easy for clients to work with you. They will always be able to book a call, schedule an appointment, and know what they need to do next.
#7 Deepens your relationships with clients because you can enter some key, personal information that will carry through the process automatically. Clients will know you are listening.
Beth shared several key areas you should be automating using products you (probably) already have.
First, use “Do Not Disturb” mode on your phone. All of Beth’s notifications are silenced from 9 PM-6:30 AM. She allows 30 minutes of notifications to come through in the morning then turns them back off from 7-11 AM, her most productive time of the day. (Note: you can set up contacts that will still come through, like your kids’ school, in case of an emergency.)
Beth’s next suggestion was to create Chrome profiles for each client. When you tap a profile, it opens all the tabs and tools you need for that client. It saves considerable time when you don’t have to go hunt everything each time you are ready to do client work.
Also, create Chrome bookmark folders. Like with Chrome profiles, this makes it easy to open up all the files you need with one click.
In addition, Beth encourages setting up keyboard shortcuts on your phone and computer for frequent tasks or often-used links. She gave two examples of shortcuts she uses: #ig (to send people to her Instagram Account) and #bio (to link to her bio information). She can drop these quickly into an email or a text message.
(And, Beth says, “Grocery delivery . . . do it!”)
If you are sold on the idea of using automation to save you time, energy, and money, here are some great places to start adding it to your business:
One concern that most people have about automating tasks is that they will lose the personal connection with clients OR the client will be put off by the automation. Beth had some great thoughts on this, focusing on emails.
When you are sending an automatic response email—like a welcome, confirmation, or reminder email—let it sound automated. Address the person by name but, because it is coming to them instantly and they know you didn’t send it personally, it is okay for it to sound generic and automated. Even consider using your logo rather than your usual signature.
Auto reminders (like forms, timeline notifications, and follow ups) can be a bit more personal, even though they are automated.
When preparing automated personal touch-point emails for client birthdays or check-ins after a significant event, write these in your voice—just how you would say it if you were writing a personal email. For these you can use smart fields in a template to fill in personal data from your clients.
Proposals should always be personalized.
Beth wrapped up the session with a few final tips and ideas.
She encourages people to never create automation for a new service. Test the service and its workflow for a period of time. You don’t want to have to rebuild the automation if you change the service.
Next, find a good CRM (“Customer Relationship Management” software)—there are lots of good ones out there (like Dubsado and HoneyBook). These are a “living pipeline” that allow you to carry a potential client from an initial query to the stage where you are offboarding and receiving feedback from them. A CRM also shows you where you are in the process with clients all the time.
Finally, always test your workflows to make sure they are triggering properly!
We appreciate Beth providing such an awesome session to our SOWBO members.
If you want more of this kind of insight and information, become a SOWBO member. You will have access to all our upcoming member-exclusive training sessions:
May 4: Maria Spear Ollis, Protecting Your Creative Output, Brand, & Relationships
June 1: Kaitlyn Carlson, The Fundamentals of Wealth Creation
Find out more about SOWBO membership and join today!