Archive for December, 2007

What Good Is A Blog?

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 | Marketing with No Comments »

I know you’ve heard people talk about blogs and you may even have started one, but do you know what to do with it? What good is it for Coaches?  Again, it’s the relationship thing.  A blog allows you to build a relationship with your readers.  Your clients and prospective clients get to learn who you are and what you offer.  This is a place to share the small lessons in life/business that get them intrigued.  No, you don’t have to give away your best, thought provoking questions.  Allow them to get to know you a little while giving them a little something useful that they can practice.  Once they see the results of that teaser, then they’ll come back for more.  Same idea as when you create that ecourse.  Only this is more about you sharing who you are as a Coach.  Let them in on how you work.  What you offer.  The parts of your job that excite you and how you like to work.  All of this begins the relationship.

Then there is the other side of blogging.  The part where you get to advertise!!  You can link to your website.  You can make it an RSS Feed that people can subscribe to, putting yourself in front of prospective clients every time you post.  It’s a great way to continue to be the one they see the most.  On the internet it’s important to be the one they see at the moment they need your services.  The more readers see your name and business, the more likely they are to choose you over someone they’ve never heard of.

So, blogging is great to establish a relationship with your prospective clients and it’s also a GREAT marketing tool.

Blog platforms I recommend:

http://www.wordpress.org - That’s what this blog is.  It’s hosted on my server.

http://www.wordpress.com - WordPress hosts this one, it’s free and there is no installation necessary.


Relationships

Sunday, December 16th, 2007 | Marketing, Networking with No Comments »

I’d like to discuss something a little different this week.  I’m finding that business is not just business.  It’s about relationships.  I have some excellent working relationships with Coaches and other business owners that I absolutely adore.  When I do interviews, I’m interacting on a relationship level.  For me, business is not about the tasks of the job.  It’s about the relationships I create.  My business life is so much more fulfilling when I’m creating relationships.

Any business owner has a personal investment in their business.  So, when you (as the owner) talk about your business you are expressing your relationship with that business.  As a Coach, you are aware of how closely your business aligns with your values.  You believe in the value of your business and you want to share that with the rest of the world.  THIS is your advantage.

CLIENTS - The Coaching industry is still young and a lot of people have no idea what your product is.  I am always hearing that the experience explains it better than words can.  As a client of a Coach (Robin Jones, CPCC), I can say that the experience is what sold ME on Coaching.  The point is, a client is experiencing Coaching through the relationship you establish the moment they look at your website, purchase a product or speak to you on the phone.  What kind of relationship do you have with your clients?  Is that reflected throughout your business?  If so, I believe you WILL attract the clients you want to work with.

COACHES - Through Classess, Conventions and online networks, there are many Coaches that you have come into contact with.  How many have you established a relationship with?  Being polite and businesslike is still a relationship.  What kind of relationship do you WANT to have with this network?  The possibilities are endless.

OTHER BUSINESS OWNERS - If you are out in the networking world, then relationships are being formed constantly.  These are the relationships that will bring you more clients.  As you meet other business owners, you have the opportunity to establish a wonderful win-win relationship where you both benefit.  It’s not about the referrals, or the amount of clients you get for each other.  It’s about the relationship you establish that allows both of you to soar.  You refer people to someone you know and trust.  Without the relationship, it’s hard to build that trust.

My hope is that each of you create the relationships you want with everyone involved in your precious business.

Are You In Information Overload?

Sunday, December 9th, 2007 | Organization with No Comments »

There is so much information on the internet.  So many things to learn.  For those who are lifelong learners it can be very overwhelming at times, because we want to know it all!  If you are anything like me, you want to know it all NOW!  There is a lot to schedule into your daily and weekly routines.  It’s difficult to find time for those e-mails, newsletters, blog feeds and websites that you’ve been trying to read for the last month.  Not to mention your inbox that is piled so full, the task of reading all of them seems extremely daunting.  I would like to offer a few tips to help you clear out and get focused.

UTILIZING FOLDERS - Do you have an inbox folder list or are you one of those people that hides the list so you have more room to read?   I love folders.  I organize everything into folders.  In MS Outlook there is the Organize feature (Tools>Organize) which helps tremendously!  With or without Outlook, you can still organize.  When you check your e-mail put the new ones into a folder so you can handle them when you’re ready.  I have a folder for each of my clients.  I make sure all incoming e-mails are marked “unread.”  When I am ready to work with a particular client, I go to their folder and handle those e-mails.  I’ll still flag it unread if I want to respond later.  That way I don’t forget to do it.

As for the web browser.  Whenever you find an interesting website and just don’t have time to read it right away, add it to you Internet Explorer “My Favorites” (or “bookmarks,” in other browsers).  I have a long list of favorites folders, but I never forget a website as long as I add it in when I find it.  Each folder has a specific topic.  The most important thing to remember is to delete or revise links as you find they don’t work.  That way it’s always useful information.

SET ASIDE TIME - Every month, set aside an hour to go through your inbox folders and CLEAR OUT any information you don’t need anymore.  You don’t have to go through all of them (that could take forever!).  Just look through the ones that fill up the fastest.  My inbox, newsgroups and personal folders are the ones that fill up the most and need the most maintenance.  I have other folders that are just for reference.  Such as the file I have for technology information.  That folder has articles, newsletters and information that I will refer to often.  What’s cool is that I can find it very quickly when I need it.

READ IT OFFLINE - Some people are just NOT online readers.  If you are one of those, print out all the articles, newsletters and websites you want to read.  Treat them as your magazines.  Staple them or put them in a binder.  Then put them next to your night stand, on the coffee table or wherever you like to read.  You can even take it on the plane during your next business trip.

IT’S NOT NECESSARY to keep every piece of information.  I have a rule;  if I’m not looking for that information right now, then delete it.  You see, I have been known to keep e-mails just because I MIGHT need the information in the future.  I’m sure you can imagine how many e-mails began to pile up in my inbox!  Now, the delete key is my friend.

UNSUBSCRIBE - If you don’t read it, then get rid of it.  It doesn’t serve you to collect newsletters and blog feeds that you never read. It just clogs up your folders or your inbox.  Release the clutter and unsubscribe from all the newsletters and feeds that you just don’t read anymore.

So, are you willing to stop tolerating overload?  GREAT!  Start with clearing your e-mail.  Then as new ones come in start creating folders for the senders you will hear from regularly.  Create folders in your browser as you find new websites you want to have for reference.  If you choose to read offline, start printing out what your newest reading material.  Only keep the information you will use TODAY!

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” - Gertrude Stein (1874 - 1946)

What are some tips you might add to this?  Share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!!

Are You Networking?

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007 | Marketing, Networking with No Comments »

Are you spending a little time networking every week? This is an often overlooked tool for getting clients. Yes, it takes time. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Just a couple hours a week. There are even choices. You can spend time networking online or offline. Personally I prefer online networking, but I have had some great response by networking offline. It depends on where your comfort level is. If you are comfortable standing in a room of people and introducing yourself, then you might want to consider a local networking group. Just a listening ear and a friendly handshake can create interest in what you do as a Coach. Online you can offer support, encouragement and tidbits of wisdom that will keep potential clients coming back for more. This doesn’t mean you have to give away your services, but a couple minutes of championing or acknowledging someone can go a long way to establish a relationship. As I’m sure you already know.

I believe networking allows people to experience who you are and what you are all about. Share your dreams with them. Allow fellow networkers to know what you are all about. You want to know them and they want to know you. The more you can get in front of them and show them that, the more they are willing to refer you to a friend, colleague or family member.

IN MODERATION: Joining a local group can mean committing to attend one meeting a week. If that’s too much, then maybe online is your best option. Online groups can be very addicting, but if you just join one or two you can participate in moderation. Like I said, set aside a couple hours a week to read and respond to posts. Over time, you will establish a relationship with the group.

Here are a couple websites to check out. Don’t forget to look in your local paper for other networking groups in the area.

Business Networking International (BNI): http://www.bni.com/

Ryze: http://www.ryze.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com