Skip to main content

Chart the Customer Course

Lesson 21 from: Value Pricing & Business Models for Creative Entrepreneurs

Tara McMullin

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

21. Chart the Customer Course

Lesson Info

Chart the Customer Course

Now as I mentioned earlier, different customers have different needs and preferred methods of buying, different preferred relationships with the people that they buy from, at different times throughout their journey. So this is what I call a customer timeline. When we think of an ideal customer, we often think of them at a fixed moment in time. We think of one problem that they have, and we don't think about how they're constantly changing. They constantly have new questions, they constantly have new needs. And when we're figuring out what our business model is, instead of that fixed moment in time, we need to think about the full lifespan of our customer, because we have an opportunity to serve our customers not once, but many times as they grow and change. Remember what I said earlier, loyal customers are so much cheaper to hold onto than new customers are to go out and find. All right? So mastering this timeline is huge for your business. It takes less time for you, it takes less mo...

ney, it takes less energy, and your customers end up happier. All right? So what's going on here? This first point is where people enter your market. It's where they start asking the questions that are part of the conversation your business is participating in. Shawna, you mentioned earlier that your customers come to you when they're mindful and pregnant. (laughs) Well I kinda rethought that. They're scared out of their minds. (laughs) Okay, perfect! They're wanting to be mindful and really present with what's going on, but they're really freaking out. Okay, so scared-out-of-their-mind pregnant women. (laughs) Yeah, yeah. That's this point. It's questions, it's circumstances, their circumstances being that they're pregnant. Right. And it's desires. They don't wanna be scared out of their mind. They want feel, they wanna enjoy the experience, right? They wanna feel confident. They wanna feel confident. They wanna feel like they know what they're doing in the delivery room, right? So that's their desires, that's where they start entering the conversation that your business participates in These points in here are the different milestones that our customers will reach along the way. They're the different tasks that they'll need to complete. And they're the different questions that they ask. This point on the end is when they've achieved kind of our shared vision. My vision for them, their vision for themselves. Or your vision for them, their vision for themselves. So, Shawna, your last point here, you could make it the baby is delivered, though I'd rather put that about right here. And instead, because you're incorporating all these other parts of your business and of the work that you do, this could, I mean your line could really be infinite, but this is when your customer really achieves that state of presence and mindfulness on a daily basis. So she's accomplishing the things she really wants to accomplish. Right? Yep. Okay. These points that happen in between are all the different ways we have to serve our customers. There are those milestones, task and questions. Alright. And at these different milestones, and at these different tasks, our customers want to have different kinds of relationships with us. So at this beginning point, Shawna's clients buy and large, at least to this point, have wanted the kind of relationship where she's on call for weeks, and then she shows up in the delivery room. And walks them through one of the hardest days of their lives. Mmmhmm. Right. That's that first point. That's a hell of a relationship. (laughs) That is a hell of a relationship. But then later on, they might just wanna kind of maintain things. Maintenance is a big theme, I think, in the kind of work that you do, and that Sasha does, and even the kind off work that Robin does. And so, they might be kind of more okay with kind of more of a transactional relationship. Maybe they wanna read a book that you wrote. Or maybe they wanna come to a weekend workshop that you're doing. Or maybe they wanna take an online course from you. So that's a different kind of relationship. Maybe later on, maybe there's, there's something else that they're going through. Maybe it's a change in their personal relationship. Maybe it's a change in career. Maybe it's a death in the family. Who knows what it is but it's something that they need support for this mindfulness, presence practice that they've developed with you, and that relationship goes back to needing that hand-holding, in-depth, on-going support from you. So as that customer grows and changes and evolves, her needs grow and change and evolve. And the relationship that they're wanting from you is going to grow and change and evolve. And absolutely, this is, I used Shawna as an example because this is really good and really easy. (laughs) In some businesses, those relationships don't change much. Absolutely, jewelry designers in the audience, other makers in the audience, your relationships may not change that much. You may find really cool ways to change those relationships with your customers and that's great. But you don't need to overthink this. (laughs) Susan. Could different relationship or this course for one customer be in terms of jewelry, they're buying for themselves, versus they're buying for someone else? Could be, absolutely, that's a great way to think of it. They look at things in a different way, maybe. Yeah, 'cause these points can be milestones or tasks, they can also be questions. So the question might be what do I get my best friend for Christmas? (laughs) And that can be, maybe not a different kind of relationship, but it's absolutely a different way to think about those points on the timeline. Great question. Cool, any other questions about this? No, alright, let's do our first exercise for this segment. And that is on page 31 in your workbooks. It looks like this. There's two rectangles, this is a before and after exercise. And before and after I mentioned in the last segment, and is one way that I really like to think about value. If you can kind of take a snap shot of where your customer is now, and then imagine a snap shot of where of they want to be, or where you want them to be. Value is what's created in the middle, alright. Value is what's created in the middle, and it also helps us figure out what is the best relationship to deliver this need. Alright. So what you need to do is fill out these questions on the workbook. The first is before. How do they feel now? This is simple, again, do not overthink this. (laughs) this is simple. How do they feel right now? Maybe take into account one of the answers to your questions from the earlier segment. What are your customers trying to accomplish and keep that in your head. Think about how they feel now if that's what they're trying to accomplish. Or you might think about one of the products that you have for sale right now. Something that's already existing. And do this exercise for that instead. But that's kind of the context that you're using. So in the before, how do they feel right now? Next question is, what have they already accomplished? What have they already accomplished? What have they already done? 'Cause ideally we're not starting with people from square one, right? They've already done stuff. Remember when I said in the last segment that largely, by and large, your customers are not coming to you without having tried other things first. They've tried something easier, they've tried something less expensive, they've just tried something different. So have they gotten any results from that? Have they already changed something, or done something that they wanted to do or change? What have they accomplished already? And this last question, is super duper important. And it's two words. Why now? Why are they interested in making a change now? What happened? What clicked for them? What question got asked? What button got pushed? Why now? Why now? Jewelry, this could be very easy. Could be because I'd like a new piece of jewelry. I have a date and I want a pair of earrings. Yes, or it could be, right, I have a date tonight. That's the why now. For me, I went on a little jewelry shopping spree last week because I was going on Creative Lives the next week. (laughs) Right? That's the why now. So big event, that could very simply be your why now. I have a birthday and I wanna treat myself! Mine is looking very frivolous and fun right now. (laughs) Frivolous and fun is great! It's like, I'm having a hard time. Yay, I feel sexy and cute (laughs) Yes, absolutely, do not overthink this. Some of you guys have these really deep transformational businesses, and that's awesome and you're gonna have really deep transformational answers to these questions. Others of you have really fun businesses for people who are looking to have fun. Or looking to treat themselves. Or looking to change their home life, or their sex life, or their whatever. You might have much more simple answers. They might feel frivolous, like Tiffany said, to you, but they're important to your customers. Important enough that they are willing to exchange value with you, right? That's important. That's important. So that's the before. How do they feel now? What have they already accomplished? And why now? Why are they looking to make a change? Now, I want you to imagine what your customer, what your customer's situation is. What they're circumstances are, who they are, after they've used your product or service. In other words, after they've used the value that you're creating for them, 'cause we still don't know what that product or service is yet, right? So what is it, what is their circumstance after they've used the value that you've just created for them. Same kind of questions! How do they feel now? What's different about the way they feel? How do they feel now? What are the results they achieved with this? And again, it could be just looking hot on your date. That's fine, that's a result that they achieved. And then, what's next? What's next? See we don't want to stop here. We want to keep thinking into the future. Even though you've made them feel awesome, you've delivered on the results you promised on, your customer's gonna have new questions. Your customer's gonna have new needs. Your job is to anticipate them. So what do you anticipate your customer asking you next? What do you anticipate them asking you for? What are their new desires? What are their new frustrations? That's the answer to what's next. Let's, before we move onto the second question, bring one or two people up and kind of go through this exercise and talk about what that might mean for their relationship with you. So, Robin, let's start with you. Come on up! Yeah, sure. (applause) Alright, let me get my secret marker of joy. And let's talk about before and after. First of all, tell us about either the value statement that you have in mind or if you were thinking about a particular product that you're already selling or a service that you're already offering. Tell us about what that thing is. Well I was just kind of thinking the business as a whole. Alright. The value that we bring to jewelry designers. Okay let's get more specific Okay. Alright? It's totally fine to do it as a business as a whole, but I want to drill down. Because these questions are most powerful when we drill down. Okay. So do you wanna pick something new? Or do you wanna pick something existing? We can pick the class that's happening now. Great! Okay, so what is it? It's called Laying the Foundation. Okay, Laying the Foundation. And what do you teach jewelry designers in Laying the Foundation? How to lay a strong foundation for their business, if they're, and we have designers who have been in business, so it's for them, it's kind of re-looking at their business to ensure that they have everything set. So it's not limited to somebody who's new, starting out. Okay, great. So before they take this program, with you guys, Flourish and Thrive, how are they feeling? I have stuck, unsupported and alone. Stuck, unsupported, and alone. What have they already accomplished? Most of them have the business. Okay, have the biz. I'm gonna also add this have the idea. Yes. Because that's something. That's an accomplishment too, right? Part of starting the business is having an idea. (laughs) and so what someone's accomplished already can be something as simple as having a thought. Have they accomplished anything else? Recognizing that they need help. Okay, recognizing they need help. And, why now? Because they're at a discomfort. They want to make a change. Do you notice if there's anything, any particular thread that ties people, ties their kind of jumping off point together? Like is there, maybe it's, it's the first year of their business and they didn't meet the goal that they wanted to have, or that they had, or maybe it's that they didn't land the magazine feature that they wanted. But is there anything like that you can see tying people together? It's, a lot of it is frustration and overwhelm, where they're not really sure what, why things aren't coming as easy if they've been in business for a little while and it's been happening and happening and happening all of the sudden it's not where they want it to be. Okay, it's not where they want it to be. So, that's not good. Not where they want to be. Alright, how to do they feel after they take the program? Supported, directed, and not alone. Supported, directed, and not alone. Community. Alright, beautiful. What have they accomplished? What results did they achieve? A foundation where they can grow in their business. Okay, let's be more specific. Pretend you're bullet pointing it for me on a sales page. You don't have to list them all but I want to get some more specifics. Okay, where, the different facets of the business, they actually, for example, the right mindset, we believe in affirmation, the right sales tools, the right marketing tools, the right tools for creating a collection Okay. That's gonna sell. Yeah okay that's great. Those are really good specifics. Alright, so, 'cause that's really important when we go to sell something, right? Is that we actually tell people this is what you're going to get. Again, even with a product as simple as a necklace, or a pillow, or a quilt, or a scarf, we need to be able to say you're gonna stay warm, you're gonna stay dry (laughs). It sounds simple, it sounds almost silly, but it's really important and a lot of times I see it not happening. So being as specific with those kind of results that you want your customer to get is really important. What's next? What's next is they are going to want ongoing support, because once they have that community and support they can see how much further they can go. So they like it! They like it. They want more of it! Want more of it, okay, great. So how would you, what is the best way to deliver the relationship? Or what is the best relationship to deliver this value in? You can tell us what you've found so far, or maybe you're starting to come up with some ideas of other ways that you could deliver that value. Can you explain that a little bit more to me? Sure, so this is a course that you run right now. Is this a course where it's kind of DIY? It is a course where they get a lot of support from you and Tracy? Is it a course where-- Okay. You know a little bit of both. It's a lot of do it yourself. We have worksheets, we have a Facebook group where they, the community, shares with one another. Which is amazing, we also have group calls, which go from anywhere from a couple hours, sometimes three hours, to answer all the questions. They also have email access too. So there's some individual interaction as well. Although this looks like the format of something, what we're really describing is relationships. Your customers, I mean, these are fairly crafty design process oriented people, right? So they certainly have a strong ethic of DIY. They, like you said, feel really alone. So incorporating a community element is a really good idea. That's gonna help them get away from this and into this. And you're delivering that through group calls, you're delivering that through individual access to you, so there's kind of that extra layer of relationship building as well. Do you see being able to deliver this value, this change that's going on here in any other form-- or not in any other form but through any other kind of relationship? It's okay if the answer is no. (laughs) I'm sitting here thinking, well, that's why we've created other courses, too. To continue the relationship and help them to just, quickly when we started doing this, we were doing one big course, and there was so much information, we actually divided it into two courses because it was a little too much. Do you see, then, between those two courses, does the relationship with you guys change at all? Does the relationship with the community change at all? Or do you see it staying pretty consistent? It stays pretty consistent. Okay. It just helps them get to, you know, more of a different level in their business. Gotcha. Have you considered at all looking for opportunities to build in other kinds of relationships into your business? As far as, because of the courses we've done, we've actually created other courses from it, because there were so many questions coming up about certain topics. So we've done smaller courses that are not quite as intense. Okay so slightly more transactional relationships perhaps? Exactly. Okay. And you mentioned earlier that you guys have a 10 person mastermind and I would, that's a very different kind of relationship even though it's still a group, it's still a community, it's really in-depth, and it's that ongoing support and all that. Do you guys have anything where you're delivering similar results? You're maybe answering different kinds of questions? But in a purely DIY, purely transactional relationship? Or have you not done anything with that? We've done a couple things, but it's something that we know we need to explore more. We have a two week course that is, that we did live last year, but it's gonna be at Evergreen this year. That's a great example of that. So we were able to take that and change that. But we're seeing so many things that have come up that we need to do some more. Evergreen's gonna be keeping that range and price, that is gonna be able to meet many different needs. Great, so I think this is a great example of really thinking about how it's important to your customer moving from one side of this exercise to the next side of this exercise. And you've talked about the different ways that you're considering building other kinds of relationships into the business. So, you're both thinking what's best, what's most appropriate, what's gonna feel most comfortable to my customer. And looking for other opportunities as well. That's really huge. Thanks. (laughs) Yeah you're welcome. Any questions? No, I just can't stop thinking about all the things I wanna implement now. (laughs) Okay, awesome, thank you. I'll let you go. Yeah? This is from Linda B. on Twitter, "I love Robin Kramer's red boots." (laughs) Thanks, Linda. Thank you. (applause)

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Art of Growth Multimedia E Book
Free 30 Days to Kick Start Labs
Value Pricing and Biz Models Course Workbook

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Amazing course with incredibly practical and innovative advice on Entrepreneurship, all presented in a fun and inspiring manner. This gave me tons of ideas on how to improve my business model and work towards reaching my business goals. Highly recommended.

a Creativelive Student

This was such an enlightening 3 days!! I had to listen to it continually.. Soo much useful and interesting content!! Absolutely loved it!! I will be purchasing for sure when I have the funds:) This is absolutely worth every penny!!

a Creativelive Student

Wow. Wow for a few reasons: 1. Tara is an awesome teacher, 2. Her content is relatable, relevant and up-to-date and 3. If it had not been for Tara's email I would not have known that creativeLIVE exists. Now I am emailing friends and colleagues about creativeLIVE and I am singing Tara's praises. This course helped me in my business already. Before the three days were up I had already used some of the information and got a measurable benefit.

Student Work