Building a coaching or consulting practice can be rewarding and lucrative. Sadly, many who get started on this path simply can’t make it. Almost daily I talk to people who give up on their dream of “solopreneurship” and, resentfully, join the ranks of job seekers.
What disturbs me the most is that many of them are talented and skilled professionals; real experts in their field. With just a bit of marketing know-how they may have been able to generate healthy six-figure incomes doing the work they love.
Instead, they spend tons of money getting more certifications. They are becoming “master technicians” mistakenly thinking that alone will get them clients. But that’s not how it works at all!
Let’s take the coaching profession for example. You see, prospective clients don’t even know the difference between ICF, CTI, Hudson, Adler, CoachVille or any other certification. They have no clue what CPC, MCC or other letters you might be putting behind your last name mean – nor do they care! What they care about is results – what benefits they’ll receive.
There’s a lot of talk in the coaching community right now about certifications, and while I agree it is important, it doesn’t matter one bit if you don’t have clients! Plus, you can be the most educated, certified, qualified, and professional coach out there and still struggle to stay busy.
You might think that’s common sense, right? WRONG! I see coaches drop thousands of dollars in a blink of an eye to get another certification and agonize for months over a hundred dollars investment in a marketing course!
The good news, unlike getting certified, learning a few simple marketing strategies doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. And it can make all the difference in the world. As a matter of fact, here are my top four “practice marketing secrets” absolutely free.
Marketing Secret #1 – Know Your “Ideal” Client
It’s critical that you know who they are, what their biggest problems are, how they make decisions, what they like to spend money on, where they hang out, etc. The “narrower” you describe your ideal clients and the more you know about them the easier it becomes to get your marketing message across.
Marketing Secret #2 – Become An Expert
And I don’t just mean be good at what you do. Heck, you should do that anyway! I mean position yourself as an expert in a specific area.
For example, you might be work with C-level executives in the insurance industry, or teach sales skills to realtors, or do turn-around consulting in manufacturing, or help working young mothers achieve life balance, or become a dating guru. Whatever makes you tick – just focus on one thing!
Marketing Secret #3 – Use Multi-Step Marketing
This is where I see so many professionals completely blow it. If a potential client doesn’t sign up for your services what do you do? Forget about them? I hope not! You work hard to get new leads and meet potential prospects so why give up on them? Many people simply feel uncomfortable doing business with someone they don’t know too well.
You should have a systematic way of keeping up with them – for years, if that’s what it takes. Let them get to know you, your company, and your services. You never know when their situation might change and they might be ready to sign up.
Marketing Secret #4 – Get Help
Just like your clients need your help, don’t be afraid to get help in the area of business and marketing. One of the most idiotic things I hear from professionals is “I should be able to do this myself.” Have you ever seen a brain surgeon operate on his own brain tumor. After all – he should be able to do it himself, right?
About 4 years ago I was struggling with closing sales and was really frustrated to see my potential clients hire other experts even though I was a lot more qualified to help them. I got the help of a successful sales coach. His advice not only quickly produced results to pay his fee but it also allowed me to make trips to my bank a lot more often.
There you have it – those are my top four secret marketing tips. OK, so maybe they are not so secret after all. In that case – I’m sure you are already happily working with all the clients you can possibly handle 😉