S01 E03 – Lauren Pawell converts 80% of qualified leads

 

Lauren got to a point in her full-time job where she just couldn’t take it anymore, and the blood — yes the blood — was only part of the reason.

Diagnosing what the client needs, rather than what they wanted, she started shifting the conversations with her clients into what they really need. Lauren found that she was getting better clients.

Lauren has several KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that she looks for in her webinarsClick To Tweet

Lauren uses educational webinars so that by the time someone actually talks with her, they are speaking the language they need to be.

As she started seeing the benefits of the educational webinars, she moved forward with using them as a sales tool.

She has several KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that she looks for in her webinars.
Registration: 20% conversion rate (actual: well over 20%)
Attendance: 50% conversion rate (actual: 58%)
Free Application: 12% conversion rate (actual: 34%)

Then she is able to choose which projects she feels is a good fit and able to close just about all of them.

She shares with us on this episode to get folks to register and show up on the webinars so that you can do something like Lauren for your sales.

Episode Take Away

Think about your current client vetting process and ask yourself 3 questions
Is it really filtering out bad leads?
Do you still feel regret with some clients you work with?
Are there things about your process you can improve on to provide value upfront to help qualify the leads even more?

 

Important Mentions in the Episode

Bixa Media

Bixa Media Community

Bixa Media on Twitter

Lauren on Twitter

Bidsketch

Bench

Transcript

Jason Resnick: Today, I’m excited to be bringing on the show Lauren Pawell of BixaMedia.com. Lauren looks for clients who want help generating and nurturing more leads through their WordPress [00:01:30] and Shopify websites. She offers both a done for you and a done with you kind of service. I wanted to bring Lauren on the show because she’s got an awesome back story that I think you’ll really enjoy and see that sometimes taking the jump instead of just thinking about it works out in the end.

The real reason I wanted to bring her on this show is she’s taking getting leads and qualifying those leads to a whole new [00:02:00] level. Your takeaway from this episode is to be able to think about your current client betting process and evaluate it. Is it really filtering out those bad leads or do you still feel regret with some of the leads you work with that maybe you shouldn’t have been working with in the first place? Are there things about your process you can improve on to provide value up front to help qualify the leads even more? If [00:02:30] you’re ready, let’s dig in.

Welcome to live in the feast. Today, I’m excited to have Lauren Pawell here from Bixa Media.
Welcome, Lauren.

Lauren Pawell: Hi, Jason, thanks for having me here. I’m super excited.

Jason Resnick: Awesome. Lauren, we had met in a Slack community, and she’s [00:03:00] all about getting clients. I wanted to bring her onto the show because season one is all about getting clients. How to get clients, how to figure out who your clients is, the service that you offer, how to actually offer it in a way that makes them raving fans for you so it actually allows you to market yourself better. Lauren does awesome work in being able to do that. She does some things that are a little bit outside the box, and we’ll jump [00:03:30] into that here on the show. Lauren, why don’t you just tell everyone a little bit about yourself and your company?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, so I started my company, Bixa Media, almost six years ago now, which is kind of crazy when it’s your baby. Anyways, what I do is I help business owners and entrepreneurs generate and nurture more leads through their websites. Anyone who has a website, has a business, has [00:04:00] a product or service they love to sell but they want more business is kind of my niche and where I help people.

Jason Resnick: Awesome, so you work specifically with WordPress and Shopify, correct?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, so those are the two platforms that I’m focused on, and that’s where most of my clients tend to be.

Jason Resnick: Great, so before we jump into the big out of the box kind of revelation questions on [00:04:30] how to get clients, when you first started freelancing, what did you do prior to that? What was that transition like into freelancing?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, so this is a really good question. Maybe I have an answer that you didn’t expect, but I did something completely different. I was living in Europe, and I worked for a medical device company. I was in marketing, but basically, my job was to be responsible for this product that’s [00:05:00] like a manual vacuum. When someone has a heart attack, they have a clot, so you take this manual vacuum, it goes up through someone’s leg or arm, goes up there and you pull out that clot. My kind of journey in that job was I was supposed to go around to different hospitals, meet the staff, wait for someone to have a heart attack, and during that procedure, convince the doctor to use my product. High pressure. [00:05:30] High stress.

Jason Resnick: It’s like holding a gun to somebody’s head.

Lauren Pawell: My God. Yeah, and you can imagine I’m afraid of blood. I pass out when I got my ears pierced, so trying to keep my cool during this situation was challenging to say the least. Long story short, I did that job for three and a half years. It was not the right fit, but I really liked the marketing piece of it. I jumped ship, moved to London, started working with a digital agency and kind of learning [00:06:00] the world of online. I had done a little bit of web development before, but wanted to learn more of the marketing piece. After working with them for, I think it was about four months, they offered me a full time job. I decided I didn’t want to work for anyone else anymore. I moved back to the U.S. and started my own company.

Jason Resnick: Wow. Okay. Not only did you just decide to quit full time. Let’s move halfway across the planet too.

Lauren Pawell: [00:06:30] Yeah. I moved back home to California where I was from, so there was some stability there that made it a little easier, because I knew people, and I knew I could find people that would work with me. Yeah, it was a little crazy.

Jason Resnick: You weren’t doing freelancing while you were working full time.

Lauren Pawell: No. Not at all. I was working 70 hours weeks, so there was just no way-

Jason Resnick: Oh wow.

Lauren Pawell: -to do anything on the side.

Jason Resnick: What was that like? You essentially said, [00:07:00] “Okay, I’m not going to work for anybody else again, now I have to go get work. I have to go get clients.” Was there a reason why you didn’t say, “Okay, you know what, I’ll just find a full time job here so I can pay the bills?” Or it’s just like, “I’m going to work for myself now and I’ll figure it out”?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, it was the latter. I don’t think I even thought for a second I’m going to go work for someone else. I don’t think that was even a choice in my mind. I had already knew what I was going to work for myself, [00:07:30] and probably because I was a little burnt out. I just said, “I’m done.” Yeah. High pressure weeks too. I mean, my boss, I was the longest standing employee under him, and I was his only employee. Most people barely lasted a month, so it was a little crazy, but would I do it differently? I don’t know. Jason, I know you did it differently. I think every person has their own path. [00:08:00] It would have been smarter to have a side hustle on the side. I definitely felt that famine, panic in my stomach for quite a few months. Interestingly, I moved back to California, I reached out to some friends. I went to a friend’s birthday party within a few days of being home, and I met someone there. That’s how I got my first client. I just told them what I was doing. They were a business owner. They needed a website, and their current web developer was kind of a flake. [00:08:30] Yeah, within a week or two, I had my first client, which is kind of crazy.

Jason Resnick: When I started, I was in the infancy. The internet was very young at that point. It was early 2000s, late 90s. For me, I was working full time, but because I had a skill that a lot of people wanted, I always did freelancing on the side. I kind of went the other route. I was basically, let me build up as much freelancing as possible and pretty much get to a point where there’s no [00:09:00] sleep whatsoever and then say, “Hey, see ya on the full time side.” I always love hearing other people’s journeys and how they decided to do it. I think a lot of it is as an entrepreneur, there’s that risk taker in all of us. Sometimes people, like for me, just to cut ties right away, that would have been scary. I would have been like, “Holy cow. I don’t know if I can do that.” What was that feeling of you [00:09:30] had one client, but-

Lauren Pawell: Oh my God. It was scary. Yeah. Even thinking about it right now, I get this pit in my stomach. Oh my God, but I was so burnt out. It was like there wasn’t really another choice for me. I was working 70 hour weeks at my old job, and I wasn’t going to do that again. I don’t even think I thought about let me get another job while I’m doing this. That just wasn’t something that crossed my mind, but how manageable was that for you [00:10:00] to do it on the side?

Jason Resnick: Yeah, I mean, for me, I would go to the full time gig and then come home, had dinner, and then start work again. It got to a point where I would sleep two or three hours a night and I was like, “Okay, this is the breaking point. What do I do here?” I mean, for me, that was a little bit more of my comfort zone I guess to be able to do that [00:10:30] and just do that hustle. I don’t suggest that everybody do that by any means. I had friends like, “You can’t keep doing this. You’re going to kill yourself,” kind of thing. It is what it is, which is kind of a good segue too, because what you talk about is getting leads, right? To be able to get leads, like in the fire, right, that’s [00:11:00] basically … When you quit cold turkey, it’s like, “I need clients now.” Was that your kind of oh, you know what, I’m good at doing this, so I can probably sell this as a service for people? Is that how the transition into full on Bixa Media was?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, you know what, it really didn’t start out, I think like many people. What I was selling morphed a little bit. It started out mainly as web design and development plus [00:11:30] some content marketing on the side, but what I realized very quickly after talking to clients was what they thought they wanted wasn’t actually what they needed. That’s kind of where my message morphed a little bit in the sense that okay, I get a lot of people coming to me and saying, “I need a new website for my business.” Okay, that’s what they’re saying they want, but that’s not really what they need. What they need is more business. They think that having a new website [00:12:00] is the answer to that problem. It’s not always the case. Sometimes it is, but normally there’s a whole host of other things that have to occur simultaneously, so by shifting the conversation, I found that I was getting better and better clients, which is probably something that a lot of your audience struggles with. It’s not just about getting more clients but about getting the right kind of clients, right? It didn’t really start as what it is now, [00:12:30] which is just part of the entrepreneurial process and I think what you learn in that kind of trial by fire process. Yeah.

Jason Resnick: Great. Yeah. I mean, what you said there, I think it’s a good point, because a lot of times, people think they have a problem, and that’s usually just a symptom to the big problem. For what I do working with eCommerce clients, that’s what they do. They say, “Oh, my site [00:13:00] needs a redesign, or we need a new theme, or whatever, right?” It can be something that’s just during their checkout process that’s stopping people from spending money. I think going deep into that conversation to really discover what that root cause is of their problem and being able to solve that, like you said, that’s when you start getting better clients. You start serving them rather than just being a task taker.

Lauren Pawell: Exactly. [00:13:30] That’s also when you establish some trust between the client that keeps them coming back to you over and over and over again, which is ultimately what you want, right? You don’t want hundreds of clients that just leave after one project. That’s a lot of work. I think when you do that deep dive, not only do you get a better client and you serve them better, but you also get a client for life.

Jason Resnick: Right. Yeah. That leads me to when we [00:14:00] met in that slack community, and what really intrigued me was that unique way that you use webinars to help get clients, like create better educated leads to convert them into clients. Can you just talk to us a little bit about that and how you decided, “Hey, this might work for me”?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, so I think webinars have been kind of a hot topic in 2016 and 2017, but [00:14:30] when we talk about that where the client has a problem and their want is perhaps different than their need, what I was finding was I was spending so much time educating prospects, so there was so much time between the initial sales call, figuring out what they needed, and then creating some sort of custom proposal and then maybe or maybe not the lead was ready to close. I thought how can I do this in a better way? How can I educate the client [00:15:00] so by the time they say, “Hey, I want to work with you,” we’re already on the same page. They already have a better idea of what they need, so what I started doing in 2016 was playing around with just purely educational webinars and just seeing can I get people on a live webinar? Do they stick around? Can I create a presentation that’s compelling enough for people to stay through the whole webinar? Then, are they going to stick around and ask questions? I [00:15:30] ran about, I don’t know, somewhere between seven to ten last year, live webinars and just got familiar with that process. It was really, really awesome. Long story short, anyone who attended, by the time they started talking to me, they were saying the same things that I had been teaching them. I was like, “Yes, this was awesome. They learned something. They know their problem isn’t what time should I post on Facebook. It’s [00:16:00] I don’t have an email list and I’m spending all my time on the wrong things,” or whatever it is. I was like, “Okay, I really like this,” but the challenge with live webinars is that you have to get everyone on the webinar at the same time, right? It’s kind of this launch process that is fun to do but is a lot of work. When you’re talking about being one person or one person with contractors in my case, your time is limited. [00:16:30] I was thinking okay, how can I do this in a better way, and how can I use it as a sales tool? Meaning it’s great to do these live educational webinars, but what I want after that is someone to come and say, “Okay, I’m ready to work with you,” which was happening with some of the educational webinars, but not converting as high as I wanted it to. This year, 2017, what I’ve been playing around with is automated webinars. I can’t take credit for the [00:17:00] idea. I knew I wanted to do it, but in terms of implementation, I kind of turned to an expert for how to implement it in the best way. Basically, the way it works is right now a lead comes to my website or they sign up for some sort of lead magnet, jump on my list, and I immediately after a couple of initial emails, I immediately push them towards an automated webinar that basically says, “If you want more business from your website but you don’t want to increase your traffic volume or your social [00:17:30] media followers, here’s what you need to do.” They run through that process, through the webinar, and then at the end, they’re offered a free strategy session. They have the opportunity to book a call with me and then we’re going to kind of go through what their current website performance looks like, what their objectives are, and then my recommendations. It’s been a really great way. it’s only been a month, but so far, it’s working really well. I’m getting really qualified leads. I’m also not [00:18:00] spending time on the phone with leads that aren’t qualified, because when they book that slot in my calendar, they are required to fill out a form, which was a process I’ve had for a few years now, but what I do is I ask them a series of questions that allows me to know am I really going to be able to potentially help this person, or are they not a good fit for whatever reason? I can respond back to someone and say, “Hey, I don’t think it’s worth jumping on a strategy session, because x, y, z, [00:18:30] but why don’t you look at this resource instead or maybe look at working with this person instead because I’m not the best person to help you.” It’s really freed up my time, and it’s kind of like having an automated sales person for me.

Jason Resnick: Yeah, no, that’s great. That kind of takes it to the next level. Like you, I’ve had a form. I call it a project brief on my website for years. There’s logic in there depending on [00:19:00] answers you give, certain questions appear and disappear and that kind of stuff. To take that to the next level and give them education around what it is that you can do and how you serve them and really try to help diagnose their problem even before you get on a phone call with them through a webinar, because you’re also saying to them too, hey, if they’re in it for 10 minutes or I don’t know how long the webinar is, [00:19:30] right, but they’re in it 10 minutes. They’re like, “Oh, I don’t want anything to do with this.” They disqualify themselves, right? They don’t just take that next step. I like the idea. I’m probably going to steal it and do it for myself. I just think that again, it goes back to that symptom versus real root cause problem. A lot of people don’t know that hey, [00:20:00] look, there’s things that we can do other than just redesign your website. I can go ahead and redesign your website, but then I’ll kind of be happy, you’ll kind of be happy, and you may or may not get the results that you want. I just think that I was talking with somebody else about this similar idea that you have that you’re actually doing it was around local meetups as well kind of what you’re doing. [00:20:30] Instead, they are very localized service provider. They just go to a coffee shop and had six to ten people come there on a Friday night and just be able to ask them questions. He was saying that 80% of the people that show up become clients of his. I’m like, “Yeah, it’s a smart way to do it, because you’re making that grass roots connections with people that is not just a contact form and a thank you page.”

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, because at the end of the day, whether [00:21:00] it’s a company or one person that’s hiring you, it’s still an individual, right? It’s still a human who wants to hire another human to help them. We’re not robots, so I think what I love about the automated webinars and webinars in general is that it really helps you speed up that connection and convey your authority and expertise and knowledge to a prospect very quickly, moreso than you could do with social media or email or anything like that. It just really cuts down on the time, [00:21:30] and likewise that other person we’re talking to, if you meet someone in person and you hear what they have to say and you like them, of course you’re going to become a client, right, versus filling out a contact form for some unknown person on the web.

Jason Resnick: Yeah. Totally. I guess the question remains, right, and I’m sure people that are listening to this are probably thinking this is great. She’s able to get people on a webinar and all that stuff and be able to automate this, but the problem is getting those [00:22:00] people, right? Is it just people that come to your site, or do you kind of offer something on social media? How do you go about getting those people to come into your funnel so to speak?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, that’s a great question. Because I’ve been around awhile, I have decent site traffic, not to mention a pretty large referral base, so let’s say I was doing nothing else, that alone would be okay, but then I would say there’s a couple [00:22:30] of other things you can do to get people through there. One of the easiest ways, but it’s time consuming that I found, is to find Facebook groups where your target audience hangs out, offer value in there, and then get them over to your site. It’s very manual process, but again, it’s that one on one grass roots connection that I like. The second way is to run Facebook ads. If you want to scale it up quickly is you can run Facebook ads, but if you haven’t [00:23:00] proven the funnel organically, Facebook ads become infinitely more complicated, because if they’re not converting at an acceptable cost per lead, you’re now diagnosing not just the Facebook ad, but copy, the targeting, your landing page, etc. you’re also figuring out is there something I’m not saying right in the webinar? Am I not using the right words? It just becomes a bigger beast, which is harder to pin point [00:23:30] where the problem is. My suggestion would be prove it organically just through your email list, whatever you have going on already, and then start to scale up with Facebook ads.

Jason Resnick: Yeah. It’s great to hear you say that, because I’m all about optimizing your current stuff before you start pushing money into the top of the funnel if your funnel itself isn’t working right. I call it the TLC Sales Funnel, [00:24:00] right? It’s basically traffic, leads, clients, but the thing is sure, you can get traffic any day of the week. As long as you have dollars, you can push traffic to it. The idea is that if you can’t convert that site visitor into a lead and then that lead into a client, doesn’t matter how much [00:24:19] you spend.

Lauren Pawell: Exactly.

Jason Resnick: I’m all about that, and that’s great. It’s funny, too, because a lot of people say, “I’m just starting out. [00:24:30] I don’t have a lot of web traffic. How can I build a list?” A lot of people are like, “Oh, the money’s in the list,” and while that’s true, the money’s really in the engagement. Let’s say you have 50 people on your list, right? They’re well engaged because you’ve really answered their questions and they trust you as a source, that’s what you need. You only need a couple of clients, and you can hold [00:25:00] a webinar, send it to your 50 subscribers, maybe get five to ten. You’d know the numbers a little bit better than I do, but you get five or ten people show up. Hey, and you get one or two clients out of that, that’s all you need. If I had that conversion when I first started freelancing, I would have been gold.

Lauren Pawell: Exactly. Yeah, that’s something I think people forget when they’re first starting out. They feel like they need thousands of people viewing [00:25:30] whatever it is they’re creating, their content, their website, whatever it is. That’s not really what you need. You just need a couple of people who are the right profile. If you can engage them, you can convert them into a client.

Jason Resnick: Totally. I do have a question, and you might have answered it already, but if you could have one process in your business completely automated, what would that be?

Lauren Pawell: Oh man. [00:26:00] Thinking of a lot of things, but you know what the one thing I would do is I would love to automate the contract writing process. I don’t know how, but that is the thing I hate. Most of all, it takes a lot of time, and yeah. I would automate that.

Jason Resnick: Yeah. I mean, I don’t know if that can even be automated, but I mean, there’s tools out there like bid sketch and all those other things that you can use, which I’m sure you’re using, but yeah. No, I’m with you on that one.

Lauren Pawell: I don’t know that you can. [00:26:30] I think I’ve automated it as much as possible, but if I could just completely automate that, I’d be pretty stoked.

Jason Resnick: Speaking of processes and stuff, what was that first process? Not necessarily automating, but that very first process when you started your own business that you defined?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, I’d say there were two. The very first one was basically the web design and development process. [00:27:00] When I got a new client, what did I do to onboard them? What were the first milestones we hit? What were the second milestones and how that whole piece worked in a way that was helpful for the client, because most of the time they don’t know really what they’re getting into. That would be the first piece, and then the second piece that I automated was the accounting of my business. I was doing it on my own for quite awhile, and it’s not something I [00:27:30] enjoy doing, so I started working with bench.co, and they basically do all the accounting for my business. It makes filing tax forms so much easier at the end of the year. A little boring, but sometimes when you automate the boring stuff, you’ll be surprised at how much time that frees up for you, not to mention enjoyment.

Jason Resnick: Yeah. I mean, that’s a thing too is we didn’t start freelancing to do more work, right? We started freelancing [00:28:00] to do the work we’re passionate about. It does come with a lot of other work we don’t enjoy, and if you can offload that, it makes your life a lot easier.

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, and even just maybe it’s tasks you enjoy but they’re repetitive. If you could free up an extra 15, 30 minutes, a couple of hours a day to work on something else, that brings immense value to your business. Recently, I just automated [00:28:30] a follow up process with leads and contacts that are still in the pipeline, but they’re not ready. They’re not going to be ready for six months or a year. That has been a game changer. I’m able to keep in touch with a lot more people. It’s been great, so anyways, I’m all about automation. I know that’s your thing too.

Jason Resnick: Somebody that’s kind of just starting out or maybe tired of the feast or famine cycle, and [00:29:00] they’re looking to really build that sustainable business, what would your one piece of advice be?

Lauren Pawell: Oh man, okay, so-

Jason Resnick: I think I know the answer.

Lauren Pawell: I’m going to say get rid of all the extraneous BS that you’re doing in your day and focus on two things: serving your existing clients and selling, getting new clients. I think as a freelancer, it’s so easy to just bury yourself [00:29:30] in your client work and say, “I’m just going to focus on my existing clients,” but then when it comes time to get a new client, you’re like, “Shoot, I have no one in the pipeline. What am I going to do?” You get that panicked feeling, and if during the whole process you had been focused on selling new clients and lining them up, you would be in a much better situation. Really, you find that you can cut out a lot of the stuff you’re doing during your day that doesn’t move the needle on your business. If you just get hyper [00:30:00] focused no I’m going to focus on selling and serving my existing clients, you’ll be just fine.

Jason Resnick: Yeah, that’s fantastic. I mean, it took me a while to realize that to be honest with you. It got to a point where I was just, “Ok, when I get up in the morning, the first hour is all the business. I’m not going to look at client work. I’m not going to look at emails.” Yeah, I had to wake up a little bit earlier, but it was a game changer just [00:30:30] being able to just dedicate one hour a day to the business and to be able to actually move that needle.

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, and I think it’s something most freelancer don’t figure out until someone tells them or you’re just tired of that feast and famine kind of process, but for me, that’s also why I like that automated webinar, because basically it’s lining up my sales calls for me while I’m doing client work, but I think like you, Jason, if you can just do the business focused stuff [00:31:00] first, then you’ll find that your business just starts to grow because you’re making that your priority.

Jason Resnick: Right. Yeah. No, that’s fantastic. Who is an amazing freelancer, or shall I say small business owner, that I should have on the show, and why?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, so I definitely think you should have Annette Stephanian on the show. I can connect you two, but she is a lawyer for creatives. [00:31:30] Why do I think you should have her on the show? Basically, she helps people get their contracts in order. If you’re launching a course, she has terms and conditions, but I think when you’re a freelancer and you’re getting business, sometimes you forget about all the legal things you need to take care of that are going to set both you and the client up for success. It’s a really important part of the process. If you make a mistake once, you’ll never make that mistake again, you know? It’s not just [00:32:00] about getting clients, but it’s about getting the right clients and setting expectations from the beginning about who’s doing what, what the communication process is, what you’re responsible for, and she has some really great stuff for people who are web developers, web designers, marketers, consultants, so I think she’s a very valuable person for any freelancing.

Jason Resnick: Awesome. Yeah, definitely. Then, Annette, keep an eye on your inbox there. [00:32:30] This has been fantastic, Lauren. Again, Lauren is from Bixa Media. She works with clients to be able to help generate and nurture more leads through their WordPress and Shopify websites. She does offer done for your services as well as done with you assistance. If you want to check more about what all of this is about, go to bixamedia.com/apply. Definitely jump on her newsletter [00:33:00] as well. She sends out tons of awesome information. I’m on that newsletter and it’s fantastic. I’m always bookmarking certain things. Actually, I do have a tab open right now from your newsletter, so I do appreciate that. Lauren, where can people reach out and say thanks?

Lauren Pawell: Yeah, so you’re welcome to jump on my newsletter. I also have a free Facebook community, so you can go to bixamedia.com/community, and I [00:33:30] offer a lot of free advice in there, so if you want to join us, I’d love to have you in there. We kind of do a lot of different things and you can give me some feedback about the show and ask any questions you have.

Jason Resnick: Awesome, well this has been great. Thanks, Lauren, and everybody, until next time, it’s your time to live in the feast.