School of Coaching Mastery

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Marketing for Coaches: How to Lose Friends, Respect, and Clients

Posted by Julia Stewart

finding life coach clientsIf you're a relatively new business or life coach, then the question of where to find coaching clients is probably nearly an obsession for you.

 

And that's as it should be. You're in a huge learning curve and your future business depends on your ability to learn quickly and keep moving forward.

 

This blog post will help flatten your marketing and sales learning curve and save you from bumbling ineptitude. 

 

As you can imagine, my coaching clients and students frequently ask me how to find clients.

 

Most don't ask where. You need to know 'where' before the 'how' question can even begin to help you.

 

So here's a list of places 'where' you may find clients, preceded by a few places where you almost certainly won't.

 

Where you WON'T find clients, but you may lose respect, friends, or worse:
  • Friends and family: don't invite your best friend to coach with you for a fee. You're violating your relationship with her and will likely offend her and possibly lose her friendship. Do offer to coach her for free, if you like - and if she's interested. Mattison Grey calls this the Friends Channel. Don't talk business unless you're both on the Business Channel.
  • Other people's tribes: you may belong to communities of interest that are led by other thought leaders. Maybe all the members are on the Business Channel, but your fellow members may view you as just a peer. Don't presume they're open to becoming your clients, unless they've already expressed curiosity about how you can help them and even then, have the conversation in private. Otherwise, you'll be seen as inappropriate and tribal leaders may view you as an interloper. Better to start your own tribe.
  • Your coaching school: don't try to build a coaching business by coaching other coaches, especially your classmates. You may see yourself as more developed than they are, but it's unlikely they'll agree. If you SPAM them with invitations to coach, or worse, invite them to coach with you in class, you'll just look self-serving - not attractive. Do invite your classmates to trade peer coaching with you, gratis.
  • Social aquaintences: the folks you meet in church, at a homeowners meeting, or in line at a store may or may not be open to coaching with you. Let them ask about it. If they're just being social, just be social with them. If they seem curious, go ahead and share more - probably in private.

 

Places where you CAN find coaching clients:
  • Friends of friends of family: go ahead and offer some free coaching to your family and their friends. If they like it, ask them to refer friends to you for coaching. Sometimes it's as easy as that.
  • Friends of friends of friends: the closer someone is to your social circle, the more likely they are to be concerned about confidentiality, so ask friends to refer people for free coaching sessions. Ask those people for referrals. The third tier is a better bet.
  • People who join your tribes: start a Facebook Page, LinkedIn Group, or live networking organization. Serve your members. A lot. Invite them to complimentary sessions. The more they perceive you as a contributor to their lives and success, the more they will want your coaching.
  • People you meet at networking events: live networking is powerful when you know how to use it. Everyone there is 'selling' something, so the trick is to notice those who want what you have. Invite them to a free session.
  • People who read your blog: one of the easiest ways to build a tribe is to start a great blog. Easy, but time consuming. If you love to serve and love to write, your blog can become a powerful attractor. Use it to invite potential clients.
  • People who hear you speak: lead live workshops, online webinars, or teleclasses. Educate, entertain, and serve. Your listeners may fall in love with you. You can invite them to work with you, but don't be surprised if they ask YOU to coach them, first. When you're in the right place, doing the right things, sales practically take care of themselves.

 

So there you have some powerful DOs and DON'Ts for attracting coaching clients without offending people. As always, it boils down to Servant Entrepreneurship. If you want much more...

 

Get Paid to Coach. Join Coach 100.

Topics: business coach, blogging, coaching clients, make a living as a life coach, make a living as a coach, Facebook, Life Coaches, marketing and sales, LinkedIn, Social Media Marketing, Marketing for life coaches

3 Reasons to Not Participate in Affiliate Marketing Programs

Posted by Julia Stewart

Affiliate marketing programs

This Spring I made a conscious choice not to participate in an affiliate marketing program that made School of Coaching Mastery some money last year. In fact, I've decided to avoid future telesummits and most marketing partnerships that come my way and...maybe it's none of my business, but I think you should, too. Here's why...

Actually first, let me answer the question, "What is an affiliate marketing program?" Affiliate marketing programs are strategic partnerships which "leverage the power of the list", meaning they leverage the combined power of mailing lists when two or more coaches/internet marketers/gurus team up to promote products. A key example of this is the coaching telesummit, which usually offers free teleclasses or webinars, that upsell to paid information products. 

Number 1 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: The program may benefit you financially in the short run, but be a disservice to your clients and members of your mailing list...and that could be a financial disservice to you in the long run. 

Here's an example: Recently, a client of mine mentioned something that he could use that a coaching colleague of mine does very well, so I mentioned her to him, not for an affiliate fee, but because I know she could help in this area. My colleague happens to be involved in a lot of telesummits. My client was already familiar with her and said, "No thanks. I used to be on her list, but I got bombarded by email marketing messages from her and from a lot of other people, as well, so I unsubscribed from all of them." He was tired of getting several marketing come-ons everyday. They were confusing and annoying and turned him off from potentially working with this talented coach. Now, I've decided not to recommend her anymore. That's what I mean about affiliate marketing being a disservice to your potential clients and ultimately to you, as well.

Number 2 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: Unless you know all the people involved in the program, you may inadvertently be recommending low-quality products and services that reflect poorly on you. In my case, if a fellow coach, who has a track record for only recommending the best, recommends someone to me, I follow up on that recommendation and if it turns out well, I think even more highly of them. But if a colleague recommends a coach who disappoints, I think a little less of both of them and I make a mental note to ignore future recommendations.

For example: Last year, I signed up School of Coaching Mastery as an affiliate of a large coaching summit, because some good people were involved. I emailed my list to try out the free teleclasses and I tried out some of them, myself. With only one exception, I thought the teleclasses were just the usual cr*p. Several of my students mentioned being disappointed by them, as well. 

Here's something you need to know: once you decide to become a professional coach, you are ripe for the picking by untold numbers of coaches, consultants, marketers, webmasters, trainers and more, who know you're going to need products and services to build your business. There are a handful of folks who do extraordinary work...and there are thousands of me-too folks who want a piece of the action, even if they have nothing of real value to offer. Too often, telesummits are larded with the latter.

The telesummit in my example was well designed and they paid promptly. It was just enough money for me to consider doing it again, but it didn't pass my personal test for whether I should market something: Does it offer genuine value to my clients and potential clients? Or will it likely confuse them, waste their time, or talk them into buying services that aren't useful?

Number 3 Reason to Avoid Affiliate Marketing Programs: You may waste your own time and never get paid. Last year I was contacted by a coach I knew via social networking who pitched a product to me that she said would help my students. Normally, I would have ignored an email like that, but a student of mine had just ask me if something of that sort was available, so I checked it out. It was business-management software for coaches that included a coaching website. It looked pretty slick, so I agreed to talk to her about it.

Long story short: she offered me a free membership and what seemed like a great affiliate opportunity and it really looked like it would be helpful to my students. I spent six months promo-ing what I called a coaching-business-in-a-box to my mailing list. Quite a few people signed up, although a few of them told me they didn't like it, because it was too clunky and they could do the same tasks more easily without it. I eventually dropped it for the same reasons and...the company never paid me. I emailed the owners about it a couple of times and they never even replied to my emails! In my book that is: Really. Bad. Business. So now they're on my sh*t list and maybe, just maybe, I'm on someone else's list because I recommended them. I can say I'm sorry, but it might be too late.

So there you have 3 reasons to think twice before participating in affiliate marketing programs. Because they may be a disservice to your clients, or reflect poorly on you, or simply give you a lot of unpaid work to do.

It may surprise you (or maybe it won't) that School of Coaching Mastery has its own affiliate marketing program. Why?

Well here's an example: recently, a former member asked me if he could join my affiliate marketing program for Coach 100, because, as he said in his message to me, “Coach 100 was the best thing I ever did to get off to a fast start in my coaching business!” He knows me, knows the program and has seen the results and wants to share it. That's the kind of referral that works well for everyone involved and I'm happy to pay a fee to members who recommend us.

But here's the thing: you can make more money and experience more fulfillment by coaching your own clients. Recommend others based on value and supplement your coaching income by serving instead of leveraging a marketing scheme.

If you'd like to know more about Coach 100...

Download Your Free Coach 100 eBook

 

Topics: coaching business, School of Coaching Mastery, Coaches, Coach 100, coaching clients, webinar, testimonials, teleclass, Marketing for life coaches, marketing, internet

Marketing for Coaches: It's Not About Being Popular

Posted by Julia Stewart

Oddly, when you market your coaching, you really don't want to attract everybody. You only want to attract those who are right for you and your business. Erika Napoletano at TEDxBoulder 2012, explains in hilarious fashion, with a few swear words. Love her or hate her, hear her message.

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, marketing and sales, Attraction Principles, TED, Marketing for life coaches, marketing

Marketing for Life Coaches: Why Facebook Events Are For Losers

Posted by Julia Stewart

Marketing for Life CoachesPost by Julia Stewart, MCC.

Okay, life coaches, including me, don't usually call people, 'Losers.' I admit, I said it to be provocative. My apologies. I'm having a little fun. But if you use Facebook Events to market your coaching business, you're losing. It's that simple.

You're losing fans, friends, credibility and even interest in your events. And that's no fun.

Let me explain. As we all know, Facebook is approaching the Big B: one billion users. That means soon, one in every seven people will be on Facebook. So that makes it the perfect place to advertise your events, yes? Probably not.

Anyone with a Facebook account can create a Facebook Event and invite all their Facebook Friends to it via email. They can also send frequent email updates to everyone who has been invited, even if nobody has agreed to come to the event.

This is a nice little tool if you're planning a school fund raiser. The trouble is that SPAMMERS, those folks we've all hated since long before international laws were passed to make SPAM a criminal offense, think Facebook Events is a nifty tool, too. After all, it's not illegal, yet.

And unfortunately, less savvy marketers also use Facebook Events and when you do, the folks who used to be your Facebook Friends start thinking of you as one of those SPAMMERS.

Yes, there you are, sharing space in their minds right along side the guy from Russia who wants to sell them penis-enlargement pills, cheap Viagra and fake Rolex watches. Or the prince from Nigeria who constantly needs help cashing a check.

Do you really want your coaching business to be regarded that way?

No doubt, some well-meaning social-media 'guru', or 'coach', or virtual assistant told you about this slick little tool that lets you SPAM...er email, all your friends on Facebook for free whenever you have an event to announce ~ or even when you don't (Some really un-slick marketers use Facebook Events to SPAM their Friends any ol' time).

An important rule of thumb in marketing, especially with social-media: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

So far, using Facebook Events is legal, so you can. And Facebook, not exactly a paragon of privacy, puts the onus of removing oneself from an Event list on the recipient, not the sender. So you're technically not doing anything wrong by inviting all your Friends, even if you know they won't be interested or they are too far away to attend.

However, in the rest of the Universe that is not already controlled by Facebook, people know they have a right to avoid SPAM and they usually have the ability to choose which messages  reach them via email. So it makes them incredibly mad when you violate that.

This is a complete reverse of the marketing world 20 years ago, when advertisers could shoot their messages at potential customers via TV, junk mail, etc. just as if we were sitting ducks. Nobody likes being a sitting duck. And we don't like being reminded what it's like.

By using Facebook Events, you're using 2012 social media to market like it's 1992.

So how are you losing? Let me count the ways:

  1. People don't hire coaches they don't trust and nobody trusts a SPAMMER.
  2. Your RSVP list on your Event Page will look something like: 'Yes: 2, Maybe: 5, Un-responded: 993', which makes your event look like the party nobody wants to attend.
  3. Lucky for you, those 'Un-responded' numbers include all the 'No's', because Facebook doesn't publish those. What's not so lucky for you is that when your annoyed Friends go to the trouble of visiting your Event Page to decline your invitation and thus turn off the irritating messages they're getting from you, Facebook gives them the instant opportunity to check a box to ignore all future communications from you, or block you completely, un-friend you, or report you to Facebook for SPAM; all with a simple click and yes, some folks get mad enough to do all that.
  4. Your constant email 'updates' about the Event may be so irksome that even the people who thought they might attend may very well change their minds.
  5. You're now associated with the penis-enlargement guy.
  6. Increasingly, nobody pays attention to Facebook Events, so you might as well announce your event via telegraph.
  7. And you're still associated with that guy.

For anyone who would like to know how to stop getting invitations to Facebook Events, here are a couple or routes. Sign in to Facebook and click the little downward arrow in the upper right corner (I know, it's really tiny.) Then choose Privacy Settings, then Manage Blocking. You can write in the names of people you want to block from Event Invites. See below:

Marketing for life coaches

 

 

But an easier way to block all events before they reach your inbox is to go to Account Settings, choose Notifications, then Events and un-click everything:

 

Marketing for life coaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you tempted to keep receiving invites in case that really cool life coach that you love wants to invite you to something? Don't be. If they are that cool, they already don't use Facebook Events. And if you really love them, you probably are already on their mailing list, which means they will be emailing you directly.

And if you're a life coach who is tempted to market with Facebook Events, just don't. There are so many better ways to connect online in ways that people welcome, that you never need to annoy them or  look like a loser, by using Facebook Events.

If you're new to social media marketing or just want to brush up:

Free Social Media Marketing eBook

 

Free Social Media Marketing eBook

Topics: Facebook, Social Media Marketing, Marketing for life coaches, marketing, Free eBook Social Networking

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