I enjoy working with non-traditional clients in my consulting practice. Some of my favorites are artists and farmers. They are often extremely creative, hard working, resourceful and guided by their hearts. However, I often find that they lack a money-focus and are unsure how to incorporate marketing into their business beyond a haphazard flyer or email sent here and there. During my new client intake process I am looking for–among other things–revenue growth opportunities I think have the highest likelihood of measurable success with an applied focus on their marketing, which leads to revenue growth for the client.
Recently I purchased the book “Value Based Fees: How to Charge–And Get–What You’re Worth” by Alan Weiss, at the recommendation of a friend and colleague, Dr. Ursula Saqui of Saqui Research. Weiss’s value-based fees approach is about establishing a win-win dynamic with clients, while accommodating buyers’ belief that “you get what you pay for.”
I recently proposed a value-based model to an existing client and friend, Charlotte Wolfe, a PhD sustainable farmer in a neighboring town. Charlotte and her husband own Prairie Winds Nature Farm. She expends considerable energy “doing the right thing” in terms of using sustainable agricultural methods, giving back to the community and providing a rich experience for farm visitors, especially the children who attend her summer camp sessions each year.
Charlotte is so busy handling chores on the farm that she has little time for administrative tasks such as marketing and accounting. Her database consisted of hand written records and notes kept in various folders. I approached her about a revenue sharing model for a pilot project — her summer farm camp registrations — and she eagerly accepted, happy to let me run with it.
I set up all of her events on Eventbrite.com; set her up with Mailchimp.com and sent an email campaign to her past camper clients (after entering them into a new database for her); added a sign-up form to her website and Facebook page and developed an “Early Bird Special” offer — discounted pricing for those that register at least 2 weeks in advance of camp starting and some other low-cost giveaways.
In just a few weeks she already has 50% of last year’s revenue already booked, way ahead of last year’s pace. She has spent almost none of her own time obtaining those registrations and collecting those camp fees — it was all outsourced (to me) and handled online. Charlotte’s happy. I’m happy. And we both have our eye on increasing her overall camp revenues to a record level. Will report back on that at the end of the season…