How Savvy Coaches & Consultants Find Clients

notebook-womanEver notice how we entrepreneurs talk in code about our real problems?

For example, the most common question I get from other business owners is “how do I find clients?”

If you’ve ever asked that question then you know there’s more lurking between the lines than the words coming out of your mouth.

So let’s unpack . . .

How do I find clients?

What I’ve found from my own experience and from working with my private clients is that this question is often code for one or more of these scenarios:

  • “I need to get my first clients”
  • “I need more clients”
  • “I need better clients”

No matter which of these is true for you, here’s what to do . . .

Instead of bogging down your brain with how do I find clients, get it working on a question that will lighten the brain overload.

What problem do I love to solve and who do I want to help solve this problem?

What you do may solve hundreds of problems but when you focus on the problems you love to solve (e.g., I love to help my clients talk about their business clearly, confidently & compellingly), it’s a lot easier to offer something of value to another person.

So if you teach people how to meditate, for example, maybe what you especially love about meditation is when you help a person who is stressed out, overworked & distracted become focused & productive.

Which brings us to the second half of the question in italics  . . . who is that person?

Because if you can’t answer this, you’re marketing to EVERYONE which gets you NO ONE. Ok, maybe you get SOMEONE but it takes a lot more time and effort because you have to sort through EVERYONE.

Know what I mean?

At the very least, you want to narrow it down to a group of people you’d like to help.

Why?

Because once you know what group of people (aka your audience) you want to work with, it’s a lot easier for you to find out WHERE they are and get your smart, problem-solving self in front of them. (Not to mention you can also tailor your marketing messages specifically to them.)

So, let’s say you love to help professional women improve their focus and productivity through meditation.

Get in front of them at:

  • Business & networking events
  • Social networking groups on LinkedIn & Facebook
  • Your own event that you host specifically for them

For most people, “networking” is about as much fun as a root canal BECAUSE they put so much freakin’ pressure on themselves.

Relax, breathe & do what you would normally do in a SOCIAL situation.

That’s it!

There’s a time and place for your elevator pitch, and REAL conversation isn’t always it. Hey, here’s some rebellious advice (not really), if the idea of passing out your business card to as many people as possible or barfing your elevator pitch all over them like a robot doesn’t work for you, DON’T DO IT!

(Yes, I can hear that sigh of relief from here.)

Just focus on having a conversation that leads to another conversation that will lead to working with that person OR another conversation with them down the line. When someone asks you “what do you do?”, my friend Cami Baker has the best advice . . . Get them to talk about themselves first!

Here’s what that might look like for our imaginary meditation teacher.

When you say “Oh, I’d love to share with you what I do, but how about you go first?” they give youinformation. Information is your secret weapon, so listen carefully to their response.

Maybe she says “I’m a paralegal in a busy law firm working on high profile civil suits.”

Then you can say “Oh, that’s really interesting. I help busy professional women like you improve their focus and productivity. Is it difficult for you to stay focused and productive in that kind of environment?”

She says, “Oh you have no idea. I get interrupted and pulled in a million directions all day every day.”

Then you say, “Have you ever tried meditation?”

She says, “Huh, meditation? No, I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom, never mind meditate.”

You say, “I bet. Many of my clients feel the same way. And once they see how little time it actually takes and how quickly it improves their focus, productivity and mood, they can’t live without it. In fact, one of my clients finally got the big promotion she’d been trying to land for months after I lead her through my meditation program.”

She says, “Really? How can do that?”

You say, “It depends on your situation and the best way for me to assess that is for you to have one of my complimentary Finally Focused Sessions. Would you like to set that up?”

“YES! What do you have available next week?”

Simple right?

And if you already know this, you might be thinking no news here but if you’re in the “need more/better clients” camp it’s time to revisit those questions again.  Because as you work with more people, you get clearer about who you REALLY want to work with and who you REALLY don’t want to work with. But even when you’ve made an upgrade in your mind, that doesn’t mean your messaging, branding and marketing automatically upgrades too.

So whether you’re a marketing newbie or a marketing master, you want to regularly ask the questions

What problem do I love to solve?

Who do I want to help solve this problem?

(Leave a comment below if you have the answers to these questions!)

Then go get them, because I don’t care if you build something that’s straight out of Field of Dreams . . . they won’t come if they don’t know who you are and what you can do for them.

If you’d like to know how you can solve your favorite problems for more of your favorite people (and get paid handsomely for it), take advantage of my free Simplify Your Marketing Session.  

How to Connect Heart to Heart With Your Audience

The whole point of coaches sharing your personal story is to connect emotionally with your audience. In order to know what story and what parts of the story to share with your audience, you need to get crystal clear about your message to them FIRST.

Here’s just one exercise from my Get It Done! Transformational Story Workshop that you can use to get clarity around your message and feel it deep within your core, because when you’re emotionally connected with your message, your audience is emotionally connected with you.

Give it a try & tell me in the comments below how it goes.

 

What Dating & Business Has Taught Me About Value, Clients & Commitment

Going strong since 2001!

Going strong since 2001!

A wise and successful entrepreneur once told me “The value that you believe you have is what your price tag is.”
Looking back on my single years, I see now that I dated lots of guys who didn’t value me. They talked a good game and somehow convinced me (or got me to convince myself) that they really, really liked me.

So why they heck was I always getting dumped or feeling like I didn’t matter as much to them as they did to me?

The truth is, I didn’t really know what I wanted in a relationship. And while going through the lousy ones helped me sort that out, it was often a painful experience. Finally, after pining away for one particular guy for two years (yes, two years . . . ) and not getting what I wanted from him or from love in general, I got fed up.

One Saturday morning I raced along the Massachusetts Turnpike in my little black Mazda MX-3 and showed up on his doorstep, without telling him I was coming.

(I know, it’s a little cuckoo-cachoo).

I simply said “I want to be with you. No one else. You.”

And it was immediately clear from his reaction (or lack of) that he didn’t want the same thing.

It sucked.

For a week.

But then it was liberating.

Because I finally knew what the hell I really did want . . . a respectful, mutually loving and healthy relationship. I was ready for the real deal.

Three weeks later, I met my husband.

And that happened because:

1. I got clear and committed about what I wanted

2. I shifted my own value (from “please love me” to “I deserve love, real love . . . and I’m done with even entertaining anything less than that”.)

Business sometimes feels like you’re going on 100 bad first dates. You keep putting yourself out there and attracting duds for clients. Or maybe you feel like you’re going for a potential client who is “out of your league” and you blow it because you get freaked out. So then you go back to courting the wrong prospects. You know, the comfortable ones. The warm leads who will tell you that they love you, think you’re great and REALLY want to work with you, but they never commit. You let them tell you this for months. Maybe for years.

And at first you’re OK with it. It feels good because hey, they like SOMETHING about you right?

But after awhile it feels like hollow promises.

Just like I spent two years waiting on the wrong man to finally commit to me, I’ve spent far too long waiting for less than ideal potential clients to do the same thing.

Can you relate?

If so, here’s what you do about it:

1. Draw your line in the sand. It’s one thing to know and say you want a different kind of client (you know, the kind that can’t wait to work with you, happily pays you and is committed to doing what it takes to get results?), but until you say “enough is enough” to those less than ideal clients and commit to something different, things rarely change.

2. Get clear on your perfect fit. Marketing and brand strategists (myself included) love to talk about creating ideal client profiles. It’s good advice, but sometimes it’s really hard to extract from yourself what would make an ideal client. Talk to someone else. Some of my biggest revelations about the type of clients I want to serve don’t happen when I’m sitting at my computer filling out an ideal client questionnaire. They come from having conversations with my coach and my peers about who I do and don’t want to serve. You need the combination of your own experiences, reflection and discussion to get a clear picture of who is the perfect fit for you.

3. Cut your ties. You’ve got to let go to make way for something better. Wrap up whatever remaining agreements you have with existing clients who are less than ideal for you. Stop chasing leads who want to nickel and dime you and don’t respect your time. It’s much harder to focus on attracting Mr. or Ms. Right Client, when you allow the wrong clients for you to take up your time, energy and attention.

4. Feel, then move on. Breaking up stinks, no matter what the situation is. You need to take time to process what happened, what you’re feeling and what you’ve learned. Take the time and feel what you need to, but don’t wallow. With each day, focus more on what you want and what you’re moving toward and less on what you lost.

5.  Go for it. With your new clarity, you’ll know the right client when you see her. Step into your value and be bold with your intentions. When I met my husband at a cookout, he was flirting with another woman most of the night. He talked with me too but he seemed more interested in her. I was discouraged at first so I didn’t make a move that night. When I went home, I knew I really wanted to get to know him more so I found a way to stay in touch. Soon we started talking on the phone almost every day, and not long after we had our first date. This happened in a matter of weeks. Within a month we were seriously dating and that other girl was long forgotten.

The same happens in business. Maybe your ideal client is working with someone else or simply just considering working with someone else. That doesn’t mean you have no chance. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a conversation. I’m not saying go out and steal clients, but a little competition can be a good thing. It helps you see how much you really want this relationship, and what you’re willing to do to create something amazing for both of you. Be curious about the person you’re courting. Find out how you can complete them. Go for it . . . the worst that can happen is that they say no.

And wouldn’t you rather get a definitive answer either way than wonder how awesome it could’ve been if you’d just gone for it?

As always, I’d love to hear your lessons learned from running your own business. What would you add to this list? 

 

 

3 Critical Questions to Help Entrepreneurs Create a Story that Magnetizes Your Audience

get started by  emdot

photo by emdot

Entrepreneurs often tell me that they know they need to tell the story of why they do what they do, they just don’t know where to start.

So if you’re feeling blocked around your story, here are three critical questions to answer that will help you break through and get started with your story.

  1. What is the purpose for telling your story? There are many ways to use stories in your business, so think about what your business objective is. Are you speaking to an audience and want to establish trust with them? Tell them your signature story. Are you launching a new product or program? Tell them a story that shows what could be possible for them. Are you enrolling a new client into your program? Share success stories from previous clients. Are you teaching? Tell a story that helps illustrates the point you want to make.
  2. What is it that you want your audience to take away, do, change once they’ve heard your story? When it comes to our business, the story we tell may actually be quite cathartic for us personally but the bigger purpose of your story is to benefit your audience.  In other words, start with your message and reverse engineer your story around that. If you happen to be selling a product or program, use a story that relates to the message that you want to share based on that program.
  3. What are the challenges, key moments or the pivotal times in your life that relate to that specific message? Brainstorm, write them down, and make a list. From that list, pick the one that most clearly and most compellingly illustrates your message. Remember, a story is all about the emotion and the credibility. You want to be authentic and credible and you want to make your audience feel something.

Where are you feeling stuck with your story? Let us know and I’ll do my best to respond to each comment, or if I notice a pattern of the same them, I’ll respond to that theme.

How to Write a Year’s Worth of Quality Blog Posts in Minutes

voice recorder smartphone app image

photo by bfishadow

Many of the coaches I know and work with tell me that it takes them forever to write a blog post.

I have to admit, even though I’m a writer, sometimes that happens to me too. Even worse, I have a bad habit of editing as I write, which often prevents me from creating more content.

I picked up a golden piece of advice recently while I was attending Milana Leshinky and Rich German’s JVX Live event, which featured guest-speakers Lisa Sasevich,  Loral Langmeier and Sean Roach to name a few. More than once, these heavy-hitters offered this advice about writing.

Don’t.

What?

Don’t write your content.

So if you’re not writing this stuff, what do you do?

Dictate and transcribe.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard this advice, but as someone who enjoys writing, I’ve struggled to wrap my head around this idea. When I write it’s like a direct channel from wherever the words are coming from through my hands to the screen. The idea of dictating those ideas just seems like it would be too far of a stretch for me.

But after hearing this advice for the hundredth time, I tried it and dictated my first blog post (this one) in about 2.5 minutes.

Woah! That’s right . . . I said 2.5 minutes.

While it didn’t come out as perfectly as I would have liked it if I had written it, it’s done and I can move on to the next blog post.

Here’s how you can do this too:

  1. Brainstorm & dictate your topics. Instead of spending hours writing one post at a time (like I’ve done until now), spend those hours brainstorming a week, month or year’s worth of topics. What do you want to promote and launch in the next year? What are the questions that people are always asking you? What are the questions that people should ask you? Come up with a list of 52 topics, a topic for every week, or some other number of topics. Then grab your smart phone and hit record. Talk like your talking to a friend. We often talk differently than the way we write, however, conversational writing speaks to the heart of your audience. You’ll be able to talk out several posts in under an hour!
  2. Hire someone to transcribe your recording. Even if you’re just starting out, hire someone to do this for you. It’s completely worth the small investment because you will be freeing up hours to do things that generate money for you quicker than your blog will. You’ll have more time to network, speak at events, have sales calls and speak with potential referral partners. I have small kids at home and I work around their schedule, so saving time really was the carrot that got me to try this approach. I have three days a week to make money and I know those hours are better spent talking to people than sitting behind my computer. It’s so much faster to dictate your content and edit your transcript than it is to write from scratch. In fact, I just completed three posts today from start to finish in under 1.5 hours.
  3. Schedule your posts. Who says you have to write and publish your topics in order? If you’re suddenly inspired by a topic slated for June and it’s only January, so what? Record and transcribe it when you’re inspired, then save it as a draft and schedule it for June. Set it and forget it. Also, when you’ve got a few posts lined up as drafts you put yourself ahead of the game. Instead of sitting down on Sunday night to publish something on Tuesday, you can have your assistant log in to your blog and schedule the posts while you’re catching up on The Walking Dead (ok, that’s how I like to spend my Sunday nights).
  4. Advanced tip: Use video instead of audio. Video is Internet gold when it comes to traffic and connecting with your audience online. When you get used to talking into your phone, it’s not a huge step to get used to talking into your computer, iPad or GoPro. And you can even get portions of that transcribed too so that you’ve got the words that will set up the video in your blog post.

What will you dictate and get transcribed this week? Share your ideas in the comments below.

 

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