Marketing, management, mastery & magnificence
By Rosemary Davies-Janes, BA
Originally published in v11n2 and reproduced with the permission of choice, the magazine for professional coaching
Do you focus or juggle? That’s the million-dollar question facing all coaches. Do you spend your professional time focusing on delivering the unique value that leverages your strengths, skills and passion (let’s call this your ‘core focus’)? Or have you added ‘juggling’ to your skill set?
When you don’t have a clearly defined authentic personal brand, you don’t have the luxury of focus. You spend your time juggling your core focus with multiple necessary activities that are absolutely essential for achieving professional success. What are these necessary, essential activities?
They fall under two broad categories: prospect attraction and client retention. Both categories drive your success, because if you haven’t set or aren’t achieving specific revenue goals, you’re playing at a hobby, not building a business. Think of a pyramid where your revenue goal is the top layer (what you want to achieve). Beneath that layer are sales and marketing (the tools you use to reach your goal). The bottom layer is your actual coaching practice (how you generate revenue). And no, it’s not ‘all about the money.’ Most coaches establish themselves as independent professionals expressly so they can focus on leveraging their skills in service to the target markets that want and value what they offer. But you have to admit, revenue tracking provides a solid, tangible measurement of how successfully they are delivering their core value to the people who want and need it.
To successfully achieve their revenue goals, coaches need to come to terms with marketing and sales. Yes, I can already hear the shuddering as you read my words. And while I wasn’t able to find any hard statistics on the percentage of the coaching population that enjoy selling or marketing their services, considering the hundreds of personality and behavioral profiles I’ve administered to coach clients over the years, I’d say it’s less than 5 percent.
As committed sales haters, many coaches try to ‘soft sell’ themselves by attending live or virtual networking events, diligently writing articles or comments that they post on their own and others’ blogs, ‘friending’ prospects on Facebook or ‘inviting’ them to join LinkedIn groups. They spend hours, even days each week, posting status updates, ‘pinning’ images, ‘tweeting,’ ‘liking’ and ‘endorsing’ to attract prospects attention.
But after all that time and effort, their prospect-to- client conversion rate is pathetic. They’re exhausted. And they’re frustrated by the perpetual learning curve of continually changing social media and internet marketing strategies and platforms. They have few clients and, despite making huge investments of both time and energy, their prospect attraction efforts fail to produce the results they want.
If you’re in this boat, you can take heart from learning that you’re not alone. Few coaches discuss their marketing failures, so while you may have thought it was just you in a small canoe, you’re actually one of thousands on board a Titanic-sized vessel. So what makes the difference? How can you focus on doing what you love, leverage your strengths and skills, and still attract prospects? The
answer is surprisingly simple. First, you need to get absolutely clear on what makes you their obvious best choice. Second, you must
be able to clearly articulate the benefits your prospects can expect to gain by hiring you. Which of their problems will your coaching equip them to solve? Which of their needs will be fulfilled? How will their lives become easier, more successful, happier, healthier, etc.?
Many coaches sabotage their marketing efforts by failing to address those questions. They fail to match their core value to their prospects’ needs. They don’t connect the dots between their prospects’ problems and the solutions their coaching provides.
Instead, they default to a lower conversational, where they have a much higher degree of comfort. Thanks to my friend Mike Dooley (www.tut.com), I think of as the attack of ‘the accursed hows.’ Instead of citing beneficial results, too many coaches attempt to sell themselves by telling prospects about their processes or the approaches they use. This default costs them, as a ‘how’ conversation
does not give a prospect the information they need to make the decision to buy. In fact, a ‘how’ conversation actually creates doubt in the prospect’s mind, as it acknowledges neither their issues nor their needs.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to hire a web development company to create a website for your business. You ask them if they can build you a site that will attract coaching prospects and make it easy for you to communicate with them, since you’re not very tech savvy. The web developer ignores your questions (needs) and starts talking about SEO, hosting requirements and coding.
He tells you ‘how’ his team will build your site, how it will attract prospects and how it will enable you to communicate with them. You’re left with unanswered questions and the unpleasant feeling that comes from participating in a conversation where you didn’t understand 90 percent of what was said.
So you seek out another supplier. When you find the web development firm that hears, addresses and clearly demonstrates they can meet your needs, you happily hire them. When coaches have clear, well supported benefit statements and accurate, current insights into their target market’s issues and needs, it becomes easy for each individual coach to match their message to their market, attracting prospects who become clients, quickly, easily and comfortably.
When a coach’s message-to-market matching is clear and accurate, they don’t need to spend hours ‘friending,’ ‘liking,’ ‘endorsing’ or
‘tweeting.’ Yes, coaches must invest in a strong social media presence. But when they are branded, this takes little time because their benefits are already documented. The authentic personal branding process equips coaches with the words, insights and skills they need to attract prospects and retain clients – effectively, efficiently and authentically.
Branded coaches are focused.
They devote the lion’s share of their professional time to their core focus, coaching, which is just what they intended to do when they first hung out their shingles.Download Article 1K Club