In this episode, Kristina explains how boundaries equal setting expectations... and setting expectations with your clients is key to managing your time and your company.
Tune in to this episode to hear Kristina’s journey on learning to set boundaries… or expectations with her clients and how learning to say NO has transformed the way she runs her business.
STAY TUNED! This week’s episode is all about making you more efficient and leaving some time for a personal life by setting expectations with your business clients. From how you communicate to when you are available to communicate, your customers will appreciate it. Trust us!
Explaining to your clients what you do, when you will do it and what is expected of them during the process of doing business with them will help avoid miscommunications… and minimize misunderstandings. Listen to this episode to learn how to lay the groundwork for setting boundaries with your clients!
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL UNDERSTAND that boundaries = setting expectations and communicating up front with your clients by explaining your process and what you expect from them will avoid misunderstandings.
Share how you have set boundaries with your clients with us and tag us on Facebook or Instagram @theringtheblingandallthethings
Connect with the host:
Kristina Stubblefield - www.kristinastubblefield.com social media @kristinastubblefield
Kristina Stubblefield 0:00
Boundaries equals setting expectations. And setting expectations with your clients is key to managing your time in your company. Tune in to this episode to hear me talk about my journey to setting boundaries, with my time learning to say no, and how it has transformed the way I run my business.
Welcome to Marketing Monday on The Ring The Bling And All The Things podcast. My name is Kristina Stubblefield. And for over 15 years, I've served as a marketing strategist and business coach. Also, I was once a wedding vendor. In these podcast episodes, I'm providing bite sized, digestible marketing solutions, and information that can be immediately implemented, and make an impact on your business. Now, let's dive in to this episode.
I'm not going to delay on this topic, this is a very hot topic for a lot of my clients, ones that even come to me that think that they only need website help, or that they only need help with their email marketing or their automations. Or their processes. This topic always comes up. And it's about boundaries, especially for wedding professionals. Boundaries is a key word for running your business. Now, it can be a little tricky if your business is already established. And you were maneuvering through these choppy waters of clients emailing and texting and calling hours of the day and night. And you're getting messages from multiple platforms. And we can go into you're getting Facebook messages, and Instagram, DMS and LinkedIn messages. There are so many avenues for communication. And that's what makes this topic even more important with boundaries. Over the years, I've worked with hundreds of clients. And this topic always seems to show itself, it's always discussed. You know, it's kind of like a little bit of a therapy session. And, you know, it's, I'm very transparent. And I'm going to tell you, this is something that I struggle with. I'm much better about it today. Because I also see the flip side of setting boundaries. I am basically laying out a clear path for my clients to understand what's expected of them. And here's how this process is going to work. And here's how we're going to communicate, I'm doing that up front. I didn't used to always do that. And the more that I started to lay the groundwork is when I tend to call it is laid this groundwork for setting boundaries. I found that my clients, they didn't complain, most of them actually appreciated to know what makes the process run smoother. And at the end of the day, if your business can run smoother, that will save you a lot of stress. So I'm going to share with you the listeners, what I talked to my clients about when we start discussing this topic. And boundaries to me equals setting expectations. That is how you accomplish those boundaries. And I can give you several different scenarios, but that's not necessarily going to help you and so I want to really stay how you can implement something immediately. So let's just give one quick example. So as a wedding professional, you're probably on multiple social media platforms, you have a website, you have email, your phone numbers out there. You may be doing the WhatsApp. There's many different forms of communication, many different platforms to communicate on. You bring in a new client. And you just say here's my contact information. Here's the date of your event.
We're going to meet two weeks before your event. We're gonna meet a month before your event, and you're 12 to 18 months out from their event from their wedding. What in the world happens in between those months? I'm not talking about the work I'm talking about, if they think of something, something comes to mine, there has been a change with their event, what is the form of communication that you want your client to use? You need to tell them that up front, because I'm here to tell you I speak from experience, it gets very confusing. When I have text messages come in from clients, emails, Facebook messages, some have my personal email address. And all that means is there's more opportunity for me to drop the ball, or for me not to see the message. Well, if I haven't told them, hey, in regards to this project, or when working with me, this is the form of communication that I need you to use. I need you to use this email address. If it's an emergency, then maybe you do this, you know, you can give different case scenarios. Okay. So let's start by talking about setting the expectations. A few of my recent clients have even went as far. And I think it's a fabulous idea, have a sheet, a one pager that has, this is how it's going to work. When you work with us. This is it, this is what I expect. This is going to be the meetings we're going to have. This is the form of communication, it is laid out for a person that if they need anything from this client, or they need to talk to this client, this sheet of paper tells them how to do it. There's no question, there's no well, should I text them or while there's an email address on their website, you're not leaving it up in the air for the client to decide. It's your business, you get to decide your own boundaries. No one else is in control of that. And it's very serious to me, because I've had to hear it over and over and over again, in different ways to really break through that. It makes it easier and better customer service on your clients in when you have set boundaries, when you tell them what's needed from them, what's expected from them. Communication is key in any type of business, but so much in the wedding industry, communication is key. One of my good friends, I won't name any names, but she's also a client. There's a saying, No one is in control of your schedule, except for you. You control your own schedule. You control if you book that event or not. And once you start taking back that power of you're in control of your own business, you get to make the decisions. You're opening up a whole world of opportunities for your own self, and for your business. In this expectation in this communication piece, and they really go hand in hand to me, doesn't just have to be used in business. You know, as small business owners when you own your own business, a lot of times friends and family don't understand if they don't have that type of business. They don't understand when they call and you don't answer or it takes you a day or two to call back. It's probably because they don't understand what all goes into running your business in so that's something that can be used also, with family and friends, just taking a little bit of time to explain to them. On the weekends. It's tough to get a hold of me because most of the time, I'm doing events. And although you may think this wedding reception is only four or six hours. I'm tied up for 12 hours that day because of this event. And it's not something that I can necessarily call you back or text you that communication right there can make a world of difference for your friends and family members.
But let's stick to the topic at hand. Talking about expectations, setting boundaries. And when you talk about that, you must talk about one word. And believe it or not, this one word is a full sentence. Anybody know what I'm going to say? That is? No. I love the Forbes article article that was out a few months ago. But it said no is a full sentence. Wait, what? That is maybe one of the best sentences ever. Possibly. There's so much power in the word. No. Now, as you're listening to me when I said that word, no, did you automatically get kind of a negative feeling? Or did that make you feel a certain way? Hearing that word? No. Well, I want to share with you a piece from that Forbes article. Saying no can be a challenge for many, because they view it as negative, something that brings harm to their business, or alienates them from their clients or co workers. But no works in the opposite way. No brings freedom, it allows for clarity. And it lets others know what you are focused and committed to saying no, doesn't have to be a negative. I couldn't have said it any better. myself. I've said similar things for many years. And I've had to have this own discussion with myself, you wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall. Because it doesn't necessarily go that clean, like, but we have, our brains have been molded, for whatever reason, that no equals negative or something bad or there, I can go on and on. But in my brain, that is what I used to think a lot of. No, even though as busy as I was, as full as my schedule was, it was hard for me to take to say no to someone. And here's where I come from that point. Being in marketing, doing business coaching, helping anyone get the word out about their business, however you want to label it, brand awareness, marketing, all of that stuff, for someone to reach out and say, I need to schedule a meeting with you. Or I think I need your help. Or I think it might be time that I get you involved in my business. That takes a lot of courage. Because as small business owners, entrepreneurs, it's tough to let other people in. Or maybe the money is not there, you just starting your business or goodness gracious, let's not talk about what we just went through. But maybe in your mind, you think the money's not there to work with a coach or have someone help you with your marketing. So in my eyes, in my mind, I think, Wow, it really took a lot for a person to pick up the phone or send that email. And I want to treat it accordingly. And I think to myself, I better find a way to make this happen, you know, if they're, if they're seeking out help, I don't want to put them off. Did anything in that sentence, I just say, put myself first. No, it put that other business first. Maybe that other business, I've been trying to get them to come in for a meeting because I knew that I could help them for two or three years. And now that they've reached out, I feel like I need to do anything and everything I can to make it happen as soon as possible. Who's responsible for those feelings? Me? I'm the one that's putting that in my head not anyone else. I don't need to say the word assume you know what it has in there. So those of feelings and all of that that's come into my brain. That person may that client or potential client that has reached out may be perfectly fine waiting two weeks How would I know I haven't asked them.
But what if that's my soonest availability is two weeks or 30 days, I'm not saying no to them. I'm just saying, I'm booked right now, however, I can schedule an appointment for this week, what day in time would work best for you? Then I haven't assumed anything. I assume that they're excited to come out and work with me or to have a meeting with me to have a discussion, how can I help them? How can I help them with their processes, their systems, their marketing, their messaging, any of that kind of stuff? But I almost made it a lot more difficult on myself. And I wasn't even saying no, I was just thinking, not right this second. One of the other things listed in the Forbes article was a couple of ways that you can word it and I'm going to share one of those with you. It said as an example, right now, I'm already committed to something else. So you're not saying no, but you're saying right now, I'm booked or I'm committed to something else. And then you could finish, you could add another sentence in there. It says, however, I'm available in 30 days, or however I'm available in two weeks, or how I'm, I would love to have this conversation next month, however you want to handle that in your business. But what are we talking about? We're back to talking about communication. There's the key communication is the key to so many things in business. The other thing, besides communication, with boundaries and expectations, you can really help yourself with meetings. And here's what I mean by that. If you are a person that has an initial meeting with someone, and you want that meeting, but that needs to stay at 30 minutes, it's free, you don't collect any money from it, you have to be really careful how much information you give out at that initial meeting. Because you do not want them to not need to hire you because you've just given them all the information they need. The longer that meeting goes that initial meeting, the more opportunity you have to share, share, share your knowledge, your expertise. So if you have set the expectation, to say, to work with me, or if you're interested in booking me, whatever you're wearing needs to be, first of all, I schedule a 30 minute, initial meeting. This is to learn more about you your vision, your event, all of that good stuff. If you want to communicate with me, this is the way to do it. Use this email address, use this phone number whatever way you want your client because that's what they are as a potential client to communicate with you. What is it that you want? That's the biggest question you have to answer. I want my appointment my initial appointments to stick to 30 minutes. I want them just to use an email address, not call me not text me, not this not that. I want them to know the next steps in the process. If you're ready to move forward, then we sign a contract and you pay a deposit your date is not held until that is received. You have to go into it thinking and remembering. They know nothing about your business. They know nothing about the way you run your business, how you handle your clientele. I think you would be surprised to learn how much easier it is for your client to have that information and be able to follow those basically guidelines that you've set out.
Unknown Speaker 19:15
Kristina Stubblefield 19:17
the other side of this, which I'll touch on just a little bit today, but I believe this is its own episode in itself in itself. You are responsible for sticking to those boundaries. If a person texts you and ask you questions about their event, but you gave them your sheet of the expectations and how you communicate. The question is do you carry on that conversation through text message? Do if they call you at 8pm at night do you turn around and pick up the Phone at 9pm that same night and call them back. You are the deciding factor in what boundaries you hold for your business. And trust me, not speaking from perfection, I assure you, anyone that knows me knows that I can be a softy. Yeah, I can be, I can be very serious. And I can be very stern. We'll leave it at that. But I'm the one that decides how someone's going to communicate with me. So, if you return those text messages, if you pick up the phone and call, that's for you to decide in your business. But I encourage you to remind the client, I would hope that your client, if that is going on, remind them. Hey, I'm returning this text to let you know I got this message. However, please remember anything about your event, I need you to email me here. That just crossed your mind as Ooh, that could be perceived as negative. No, if you if you set the expectations in the very beginning for your client, you're referring back to that sheet, you're reminding them of that sheet. It's up to you how much you want to allow your schedule to be open for phone calls. I try to encourage people to have some set hours or some kind of guide they are for their clients with their hours that are available. And what is the turnaround time, if someone calls you and leaves a message they need to know, hey, I will always get back with you in 24 hours or within 24 to 48 hours. Now, if you're a wedding, in the wedding industry, you also need to think about what if they call on a Friday evening, and I have an event on Saturday, Sunday, I'm trying to figure out what day it is. You need to set those expectations to say, if you call me Friday, Saturday or Sunday, your call or message text, whatever you're going to allow you like how I said that? Right? Whatever you're going to allow in your business. You they need to know if you call Friday, Saturday or Sunday, I do not recall return those calls, texts, emails, whatever form of communication. Message in a Bottle, whatever it is, until when Monday or Tuesday. Depending on your business, depending on how busy you are, can you return all those calls and messages on Monday. So just think through some of that stuff. But make sure that your clients know the expectations and the boundaries up front. I know a lot of wedding professionals have people on their books for a year, some even more than that. So there's a lot of opportunity for communication. And I'm not saying that there shouldn't be communication depends on what you're doing for that client and all that stuff. If you're a wedding planner, especially, there's going to be constant communication. But it's up to you to tell the client, how that's going to happen. Or I don't respond to text messages unless it's one week before your event. Did you think that sounded kind of stern. It's your life. It's your business. It's your decision. The only thing that I remind you of is your potential clients or your clients cannot read your mind.
You have to lay it out for them. Plain and simple. Most of the time, it's best to include to have it in a sheet that they can print. Or at least in written form. You can go over it with them in person as well. I really suggest that but make sure you don't try to hide it in an email me like well, I included that. Don't shy away from it, own it. It's your decision. It's your business, own it, put it out there, have that conversation with the client to let them know this is how I can best serve you. This is how I can show up and be 110% for all my clients. If we follow this sheet, I need you to follow this sheet for me to perform the best. I can For the service that you've hired me to do, remember, communication is key. There's always a way to word something, it doesn't have to be harsh, doesn't have to be stern. It could just be plain and simple. This is this is how I run my business. And this is what I expect of you as a client. So before we end this episode, I'm going to give you just a couple of things to think about. I mentioned about communication, how do you want a person to communicate with you email, phone, text, smoke signals? What is that? What is the process? Like, tell them what to expect? Hey, we're going to need to meet 30 days before your event, we're going to meet two weeks before your event, your balance needs to be paid in full 30 days before your event. If you need information from them, when do you need that information by think about everything that your business needs to perform that event. Now, I hope you already have some type of checklist. But what can you tell the client up front with your expectations, that would make it easier for you. So think a little bit about that. And that's where I would start with your expectations and your boundaries. And this is a this is a very big topic, I've just scratched the surface on this. But most of the time, communication is a big part of setting boundaries. And I mean, people are texting, sending messages on multiple platforms. That's why I really wanted to hone in on that part of setting boundaries and setting expectations in this episode. Now, as I said, this is a big topic. So look for some kind of follow up episode here in the future. But I want to hear from you. Where are you at? Do you have a good system or process? Or do you have a list that you give your clients to set the expectations? Find me on social media, shoot us an message or an email? Here we go. Contact me any form or fashion that you want to? Just contradicts everything I said, but I'm talking to an audience. I'm not talking necessarily to clients. Remember that for any clients that are listening? But I want to hear from you. What do you do that works the best for your business? Or do you not have anything in place? Did this episode help you We'll help you put some of those pieces together. At the end of the day, life is short. You can run yourself ragged, having your own business, it can be stressful, time consuming, emotional, all of those things. But remember, you are in control. That's not easy to learn. That's not easy to implement. That's sometimes very difficult for people to take in. But if you think about that, when you start your day, I am in control. It may help you as you start to put in some of these small things to make changes in your business. To make things easier on yourself less stressful, less time consuming. So I cannot wait to hear from you. So thank you so much for tuning in. If you know someone else that can benefit from listening to this episode, send them a message or share this episode with them. As always, you can visit our website to listen to past episodes, and contact us anytime. Until next time see ya.
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