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?
Currently, I’m in rehearsal for a musical where I have a very emotional character. I go through most of the stages of grief as my character. I LOVE this kind of role because I get to practice being acutely present to the moment, feel and make the audience feel too. It’s exhilarating for me!
There’s another big piece to this role, in particular, that is really coming to the forefront for me; vulnerability. I’ve never done such an emotional role and had no idea how far I could go with it (still don’t! We’re just getting into the thick of rehearsals). While I know the Musical Director well, I don’t know anyone else involved in the show. As with most shows I’ve done, I have no idea what’s expected of me early on in the process.
For this show, I really wanted to get to the emotion early, so I’d have time to explore where it needs to go by performance time. The first time I did my solo in front of the group, I wanted to have some emotion. So, I prepared and let it happen. Of course, I wondered if people were going to think I was getting there too early, if they’d be talking about it later and making fun of me…I had no idea what their reaction would be and I was scared…but I did it anyway. Gotta love theatre! Always feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I had tears well up and allowed that to just be. I allowed myself to feel what I felt in that moment. Thankfully, everyone in the room understood what I was doing and responded as if it was nothing. *whew* That’s when I knew, I could safely feel without judgement.
Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with marketing. Have you ever had that moment where you wrote a marketing piece that made you nervous? Where you weren’t quite sure if you wanted to put it out there, because you had no idea whether the rest of the world would accept it or not? When you work in your passion, you end up putting yourself out into the world in big ways, which can be very scary or down right paralyzing. It can also have a huge payoff by attracting the right clients and deterring the wrong ones.
How vulnerable do we have to be in marketing? You do need to share who you are to build trust. When people can relate to you, they will trust you. They can’t relate if they don’t know who you are. So, you need to be vulnerable enough to share what YOU think, feel and believe about your topic. Extreme vulnerability can lead to sharing things that people really don’t need to know and things that turn the right people off. Very little vulnerability can make you seem closed off and unapproachable. It’s your job to find the happy medium. If you’re feeling nervous about putting something out there, here are some ways to find that happy medium. Make sure:
- It relates to what you do in your business.
- There’s a purpose in putting it out there (something for people to learn, use etc…).
- You don’t skim the surface. If you’re gonna go there, share your experience, feelings etc… Dig in.
- You’re talking about yourself and not blaming, ranting or going on about how someone else is wrong.
One thing that gets missed a lot are the tiniest little details that are instant trust-killers. While people may not consciously think “I don’t trust this person.” They do notice it and it goes in a mental file for later. All the little tiny trust-killers add up to a feeling of mistrust over time. So, how do you avoid these tiny little trust-killers. Here are a few places to look:
- Recurring Processes - For example, a recurring event/workshop/podcast etc… This is a HUGE place for TINY trust-killers. Do you have a date and time on the follow-up e-mail, the web page or other places? Every time you complete one, the date needs to be updated. If you have a different theme every time, that needs to be updated. If you have different guest every time, that info. needs to get updated. Forget to update just one of these little details then you have a tiny trust-killer on your hands.
Avoid this by documenting the process. Create a checklist you can print out each time. Create a repeatable to-do list in your management program. Whatever you have to do, have something with a list of what needs to change with each one and make sure it happens. For many, this is a GREAT thing to pass off to a capable VA or Marketing Manager.
- Rebranding - Have you recently created a new marketing message or had a new logo designed? Are you SURE you updated everything with your new colors, font etc…? Have an outsider go through your website, sign up for your freebie etc… and see if they notice anything out of place. AND did you announce that you going through a rebrand to those who have been following you? A little know that says “pardon our dust” as you update everything, can go a LONG way towards maintaining trust in the process.
- Copyright Dates - Does your website copyright automatically change over to the current year? If not, get a script or plugin that will do it for you. Does your blog update as well? How about your freebie. When was the last time you updated that? Did you change the copyright date on it? Out of date material makes people feel like you aren’t current. So, make sure you are up to speed with the current year.
- Bios - When was the last time you updated your bio to reflect who you are today? If your bio doesn’t grow with you, it creates a disconnect with everything else you have out there. Update your bio when you update your message. Update your bio when you have a life event happen. Update your bio when you get a new certification.
- Dissing on your competitors - While it’s good to make sure you are setting yourself apart from your competitors, be careful not to be mean to them. Your potential clients want to know what your thoughts are. If you give too much power to your competitors, they could be very empathetic towards them and go that direction. Or at the very least, they are turned off by your rant and just don’t want that energy, so they move on. The best solution is to look at what you don’t like about your competitors and decide how you are different. That’s what makes you cool; how you do it the way you do and what cool things your clients get from that. Every now and then you can say…”my competitors don’t address this…” or something to that effect. Just don’t write an entire blog post or social media rant about what you feel isn’t cool. Write/talk about what IS cool?
With my clients, I work on what to do and say in marketing. These are the little things that we find in the process. Eliminate these little trust-killers now so you can build trust everywhere. Not just where it’s obvious.
As coaches, we are big on making sure our clients own more of who they are. We want them to be themselves.
In marketing, there are supposedly rules, scripts and procedures we all have to follow. It’s hard to find room to be yourself amongst all the statistics and valuable information. However, being yourself is imperative to getting results from your marketing.
As a coach, you have a specific style of coaching. You have something special that only you can offer to your clients. You have a unique thought process and steps you walk clients through. You also have a way of talking to your clients that gets them to trust you and allows you to be there on their journey.
All of these things are because of who you are. All of these things need to be reflected in your marketing. YOU need be in your marketing. There are a lot more coaches in the world these days than there were when I started my business in 2006. You need to stand out among the crowd and you can only do that by being you.
So, regardless of what people say you’re supposed to do, what the right way is, where you are in your business, what you’re aiming for etc… Just, please, be yourself.
This article is part of a series about how to use coaching concepts you already know to make marketing easier. If you are interested in having the full collection of articles, you can download “The Coaches’ Guide to Easier Marketing” at http://www.coachesmarketingsource.com.