Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of consultants and coaches teaching them how to market their businesses. I’ve spent twenty-five years learning how to build my marketing consulting and coaching business and even developed a network of independent marketing consultants and taught them how to build their businesses.
Many businesses, even those that don’t call what they do consulting or coaching offer consulting in the form of services or information. So, today I submit the steps I believe are the essential elements needed to build any coaching, consulting or service related business.
1) Build your email list
First and foremost you need to exist online in a way that allows large numbers of people to find you, but in addition to finding you they need a reason to give you permission to reach out to them over time.
One of the most important elements in your marketing arsenal is a great eBook that motivates people to willingly give you their email address.
This is a numbers game. You need to promote and highlight your eBook through blogging, guest posting and participating on Facebook and Twitter for the primary purpose of building links, traffic and subscribers attracted to the topic of your eBook and blog content.
These subscribers won’t all be hot prospects, but they will generate the momentum you need through their sharing, linking and otherwise supporting your continued marketing efforts.
You need to build a following first and then you can start to narrow your focus to conversion.
2) Create a hot list
Now, if the first step was about building numbers, the second step is about limiting numbers. In addition to list building you need to identify a very narrowly targeted list of no more than 100 hot prospects.
It’s so easy to get caught up in building online followers when you really might just need ten more great clients. The way you get ten more great clients is to focus a massive amount of attention on 100 hot prospects.
With this narrow focus you can target events and groups that your prospects participate in, add them to a CRM tool and follow their every social media move, send highly personalized mailings and get introduced by other members of your network.
This is how you prospect today.
3) Target social networking
With your hot list in hand you can get very targeted with your social networking. As stated above, identify groups, associations and events that your hot prospects participate in and get active their only. Don’t run around going to every event with a handful of warm bodies.
Meet people at these events and in these groups and make them the basis of your social networking activities. For coaches and consultants this means LinkedIn as far as I’m concerned. In my experience LinkedIn is the only social network that’s all about doing business. That doesn’t mean it’s all about selling, but it does mean that the relationship building time spent there, if targeted to your hot prospects, is the most beneficial time you can spend using social networking.
Target a handful of local and industry or topic related groups on LinkedIn and spend time networking there every day.
4) Build a partner team
Look at your ideal client and identify a list of all of the other services they might need to accomplish their objectives.
From this list identify as many best of class providers as possible and start inviting them to tell you about how to introduce their businesses to your clients.
Create ways for them to guest blog for you, interview them and host the interviews on your site, allow them to cobrand your eBooks and send them to their clients and think about ways to develop events, webinars and workshops with them.
By taking this formal approach to building your partner team you’ll discover your hot prospects will start coming to you.
5) Get to a podium
Your brand, your prospecting and ultimately your profitability as a coach or consultant rests in your ability to get up in front of groups of prospects and share your story, unique point of view, solution or methodology – essentially, your eBook in seminar form.
A central part of your prospecting should be aimed at getting in front of groups with your message. This can and will evolve over time, but get to just about any podium you can in the beginning. You’ll find that speaking leads to more speaking and more speaking leads to better speaking and better speaking leads to clients.
Eventually you’ll get paid just to speak, but don’t make that your goal. One or two great clients will pay you far more than the speaking fee you might be able to garner. When you get very good at delivering your message your can forgo your potential speaking fee in trade for things like the ability to make special program offers or collect email addresses.
6) Perfect your conversion
Lead conversion or selling using the approach I’ve outlined here is more of an act of educating and creating the right buying experience than it is actually selling as most think of it. In fact, if you have to do much selling, you’re not doing the first parts of this system right and you’ll likely land clients that aren’t a match.
Lead conversion for consultants and coaches starts by having a discovery process that allows you and your prospect to learn if there is a great fit. This can be a form, worksheet or evaluation meeting, but having a step that allows you to align your prospective client with exactly how you will work together and what framework or methodology you will use is crucial.
The next step is to be able to clearly and simply demonstrate exactly how you will work together, what’s expected of both you and the client, the results they can expect and how you plan to measure the results.
Your lead conversion system must contain an orientation process once the prospect says yes. Spend as much time on creating a smooth “new client” process as you do on creating everything that led them to saying yes and you’ll find the next sale will come naturally.
Finally, your lead conversion system must have a results review component. You must have a way to measure and a process to communicate the results your client has received. Build this in on the front end, tell them you are going to ensure they got a result, tell them how and then set up the process.
When you do this you’ll immediately set up your referral mechanism and give yourself no option but to generate remarkable results for your clients.
7) Introduce multiple streams
Once you have your traffic, prospect, networking, partnering, speaking and converting pieces in place and you are generating clients, start to introduce additional convergent streams of revenue.
You can do this by introducing additional products and services, through joint ventures with your partner team or through passive revenue streams generated through introductions to related services and tools your clients might need.
So, there you have it, the entire marketing plan for a coach or consultant.
Oh, and if you’ve read to this point chances are you might want to learn about my consulting network and various tools we offer to create successful marketing consultants.