I see the stars in your eyes filled with hope for your dream business to come into reality. You truly believe that you can make it. All you have to do is get there and everything will fall into place.
You want to believe the slogans that say you can have $10,000/month in income now and make 6-figures in six months. These statements give you hope. Especially when you read about the person offering it and find out they’ve been right where you are now.
You tell yourself over and over again that you’re a coach and you will reach your goals. If they can do it, so can you. You can make it happen, therefore it will happen and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there. You’re willing to be uncomfortable, stretch and push your limits.
You continually look for whatever nibble you can get on the tree of instant stardom. Hoping you’ll be the one to make it work. No matter the cost, time or energy it takes.
You’re determined. You have great tenacity. You will not stop until you’ve successfully created a business that allows you to live out your purpose, change lives and make the world a better place.
You are an amazing coach who will change the world.
My wish for you is that you enjoy getting the word out about your business so much that it becomes second nature.
My wish for you is that you consistently touch people deeply resulting in relationships that lead to paying clients.
My wish for you is to have a foundation for your marketing that will support your values, help you make wise decisions and grow at a rate that fits your priorities.
If you were to look deep within your heart and ask the following three questions of yourself, how would you answer them?
What do you want in this moment?
What do you want your life to look like on the road to your dream?
Who do you want to be as you build your business?
You are a coach and I’m sure you’ve asked your clients questions like this, but are you asking them of yourself?
Technical marketing is where your language, campaigns, mailings, website, etc… are structured around what should come first, second and so on. It’s a standard, a norm, a blueprint.
Most of us (me included) follow the pattern because we know someone before us tested this and found that the numbers add up and it’s the most effective way to go. If you’re anything like me, you know that you’re not the best at analyzing these things, so it’s best to rely on someone else’s work.
What if that technical structure isn’t YOUR most effective structure?
The coaching industry is filled with coaches who struggle to get clients. I truly believe that a big part of the problem is technical marketing. Most coaches are creative. We love to help people and are driven by relationship and/or inspired ideas. This is how we show up during coaching sessions, group programs and speaking engagements.
Technical marketing is great for understanding what people need in order to buy from you, but there comes a point where it defines who you are as a coach. This is where we have the opportunity to change the face of coaching.
Every bit of marketing for coaching is “the face” of coaching. Over the last 10+ years I’ve watched the industry go from no one knowing what a coach is to most people having heard of a coach but not really understanding what that means.
Right now, I’m seeing a lot of social media blowback about the industry saying that coaches are taking money and not getting results “for” their clients. The coaching industry is not trusted withing a large part of the population. I’ve even had clients who’ve said to me “You’ve restored my faith in coaching.” Before me, they didn’t trust it. I had to earn that trust and it took a lot of time.
These complaints clearly come from people who don’t know what true coaching is about.
What they know is what they see in marketing.
What they see is technical marketing that lacks the depth a coach brings to the relationship.
What they see is a coach trying to be a good marketer.
What they NEED is an experience of the coach.
What if we ditched the structure and focused on BEing?
Who are you being in your marketing? Are you being the coach or the marketer?
I’ve been working on this myself. The more I own who I am as a coach in the work I do with my clients, the more I’ve had to own who I am as a coach in my marketing. Let me tell you, I’ve studied a lot of marketing and that isn’t easy. Day by day, I’m changing it up and it’s paying off.
I’m constantly challenging my clients to stop marketing and start being who they are (a coach) in their marketing. The more they own it, the easier, more authentic and more attractive their marketing gets. Relationships form faster and easier. The right clients are contacting them. Best of all they spend less time marketing and more time coaching. I’m challenging you, as a coach, to step up and step out of the norm. Be a coach!
I challenge you to join me. Do you accept the #BeACoach challenge?
What’s your business dream? Are you looking for the fastest way to get there? If you’re anything like me. You’re impatient. I’ve always been a Veruca Salt kind of person. You remember? The spoiled brat in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ok. I may not literally go stomping around saying “I want it NOW!” However, the little girl in my head does that quite frequently.
When my Veruca Salt rears her demanding head, it sends me out searching for the fastest path to get to my destination. The road that’s been proven and worked for other people. The one with the easy to follow plan that will be exactly what I need to reach my goal. ESPECIALLY when it comes to business.
For years, I gave into my Veruca Salt. I fed her information, plans, easy to follow step-by-step workbooks. She ate every little bit of it up. Yet, I still never reached my goal. None of it got me where I wanted to go. Worst of all, I was really NOT enjoying these “plans” at all. While I may get a taste of success and enjoy that, the work to get there was draining every ounce of energy away.
That’s what happens when you go kicking and screaming down a path that isn’t yours to go down.
I’m pretty sure you didn’t get into business for yourself so that you could do a whole bunch of tasks that drain your energy. I’m pretty sure you DID get into business to help people, have flexibility and enjoy your work more than you ever did in that JOB.
Why are we in such a hurry?
There are so many juicy experiences to have along the way. The great thing about being an entrepreneur is that we get to create our own experience. So, why are we in such a hurry to get to our end goal? Why not enjoy the whole experience of growing our business?
Yes, there are bills to pay and there’s income to bring in. There’s the income you can bring in today and there’s the ultimate income. You’ll never get to the ultimate income if you don’t bring in something today. Again, why are we in such a hurry? Slow down.
When I was diagnosed with Diabetes, I didn’t jump head first into eating 1600 calories a day, walking a minimum of 5000 steps a day, doing 2 90 minute cardio events every week, getting off the couch to go somewhere every day or eating 15-13 grams of starch carb per meal. Doesn’t that sound daunting? That’s a lot do all at once!
I started with a focus. Eat only 30-45 grams of carbs per meal. In 3 months, I lost 15 pounds. So, I added a new focus, move more. After 4 years of adding in one focus at a time, I’m down 60 pounds, off my blood pressure meds and my numbers are below Diabetic levels. Some people try to lose 60 pounds in a year. I took 3.5 years. I hear people talk about how hard it was to give up their favorite foods and work their bodies all the time. I enjoyed my journey. I never felt like I was giving up anything or doing more than my body wanted to do. I just did it and it was fun.
I apply the same philosophy to my business. It’s taken me longer to get here than I would’ve liked, but I prefer to have my business and enjoy my life around it too. What’s your preference? Get there fast or enjoy the ride?
When I went to coaching school, one of the things we were taught was to design an alliance with our clients. We were taught to help them find their agenda and set up what they want to work on through coaching. We were taught to ask questions to clarify the objectives of our relationship and what their needs are in order to get what they desire. We were taught to partner with our clients to make sure the relationship is beneficial to the client and honors the coach. It’s a design that creates a whole new entity; the coaching relationship.
I’m listening to the book Trust-Based Selling by Charles H. Green. In his book he states; “The relationship is the client, not the customer.” If the relationship is the client, then in order to sell your coaching services, you need to create a strong coaching relationship that will thrive.
What does a thriving coaching relationship need? It needs at least two things:
- A coach who is willing to be curious, ask questions, leave their agenda aside and focus on the Coach-ee. Along with many other ethical commitments and skills.
- A Coach-ee with an agenda they are willing to share, explore and be challenged on while doing some pretty major self-introspection.
What else does a coaching relationship with YOU need to thrive?
What’s it going to take for YOU to create a successful and sustainable coaching relationship?
Who do YOU want to be while creating that kind of relationship?
When you focus on what it takes to build a coaching relationship, you no longer need a “client”. You now need a partner. You’re looking for a partner who is a good fit. You will need to nurture that coaching relationship from the very beginning. You’ll need to be the coach. And not just when you get on the phone. It starts in your writing, social networking, interviewing etc…
Now, I’m not saying to go out and coach for free and coach everyone you can find (while that may work for some people)! I’m saying to start building the coaching relationship. Take a look at your website, blog, social media, business cards, brochures etc… Are you building the relationship as a coach looking for the other half of a coaching relationship? Or are you trying to get a client?
As I listened to the words spoken about what Trust-Based Selling looks like, I found myself smiling from ear to ear. Why? Because Charles H. Green basically says that people who want to be Trust-Based Sellers just need to be coaches. And we, as coaches, already know how to do that! Imagine how much more difficult that might be for a Lawyer!
The problem is that we are trying to sell by way of sales training that so many other professionals understand and can make great success with. However, we coaches have an edge on them. We can build trust. It’s innate in the skills that we learn as coaches. People are tired of being marketed to. They want a relationship. Lucky you. If you’re a coach, you may have the perfect relationship for them.
Stop trusting in processes and procedures that help you make a sale.
Trust in your skills as a coach. Feed the relationship every step of the way. And those who want to partner with you will trust you immediately. Don’t make it about getting the client. Use the power of AND. Make it about the relationship you’re building together.
What do you think? What do you think it looks like to sell to the relationship?
Imagine you’re going through life, doing your own thing, with a dream of creating a business that honors your passions, values and allows you to create the change you wish to see in the world. You love your business, have big ideas of how you want it to look and are working toward making that happen. You know you’re doing great work in the world and you look forward to continuing it.
This is me, most of the time. I say most of the time, because I have moments (some days, many moments) where it’s not all fine and dandy like that. Moments like when my mastermind partner, Kristi, says “If you don’t have a succession plan for your business, then your business is a hobby.” I don’t have a succession plan and don’t plan to create a business that has one. In that moment I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart. I was flooded with the feelings of shame and guilt for not living up to what a business is supposed to be. Why? Because the voices in my head (created by much of what I’ve learned in marketing) translated that statement into:
“You aren’t running a legitimate business.”
“Your business is less than.”
“Think of a better way to run your business or you’ll never be taken seriously.”
While I know Kristi didn’t mean it that way (see her response here), these are the kind of messages that run rampant in the online world and especially when marketing to coaches. We’re challenged every day to step up our game and think BIG. What exactly does BIG mean? Generally, the definition of BIG that I see/hear from so many marketers is 6 or 7 figures, jet setting around the world, charging $10,000/month for coaching and making sure we change the lives of the masses.
We ALL, individually, have our own unique definitions of BIG.
Um, I have a very different definition of BIG. My version is making $50,000/year, mostly staying in the Southwest Ohio area with maybe one or two trips a year that I get paid to make, charging $475/mo for ongoing coaching and changing the lives of 5 ongoing clients at a time, 5-10 others on an introductory basis and maybe one or two group programs a year with a few products. My version of BIG is allowing a long lead time due to having a deep connection beforehand. My referral partners are very close friends with lots of love and sharing between us. My business is designed around connection and building deep relationships with clients over time. Speaking of time, I only work in and on my business 20-25 hours/wk (including calls and networking), because my life outside my business is a high priority for me. I haven’t reached all my goals yet and for some I have no idea what it looks like yet. Every year, though, I get little pieces of my BIG business in place. It will come.
Ask the voices in my head and they will tell you my whole plan is doomed to fail, because this is not the way to run a business. On one hand, I could care less! I like going against the grain and doing things my way much better. On the other hand, when I see all these messages telling me I should be doing the opposite, it’s a little hard to swallow. Am I insane? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. I’m pretty good at getting the voices in my head back in check, but it’s getting harder as these definitions of BIG seem to be more prevalent every day. Or are they? Maybe I’m just seeing them more because I’m in a place where my teenager is totally rebelling against the 6 figure track.
I wonder how many others are feeling stabbed in the heart too. There must be a better way to promote BIG to the coaching industry. I mean, we’re coaches. We promote individuality, owning who we are and choosing the life we want. If every coach built the same kind of BIG business, what would that do to the coaching industry? We need a variety of different kinds of businesses at all levels to be able to reach the masses as a whole. I propose that we change the marketing message from “Go BIG or go home.” to “What’s going BIG mean to you?” Who’s with me?