Attaining the Abundance Mindset in Career CoachingJanuary 13, 2022
Branding Your Career Coaching Practice for SuccessJanuary 27, 2022
The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” –Peter Drucker
Marketing is a key component to success in any business, and for career coaches, it is critical to developing and growing your business. But here’s the rub; many career coaches “hate” marketing. Why? For a number of different reasons. They likely have had very little experience or training on how to do it successfully, they view it as undesirable, and above all, they often believe it is antithetical to their helping values. I have heard so many coaches dismiss the idea of starting their own business simply because they can’t stand the thought of marketing or selling:
-”People will see me as preying on them”
-”Marketing is foreign to me”
-”It just feels fake and forced”
Break out of the stereotypes about salespeople
Let’s take a look at the comment “people will see me as preying on them”. This idea of the sleazy used car salesman or snake oil salesman is as old as time. There were probably cave people who worked on other cave people to persuade and engage them in solutions to problems. As Drucker notes in the opening line of this paragraph, we want the service to be so good that it fits the client perfectly. You are selling solutions to problems or obstacles people face in their lives. How happy are you to see a competent plumber show up at your door or a capable doctor when you have home or health issues? Probably pretty happy. You can be seen in that same light. What could be more valuable than a person who is going to help us get a job that will support our basic needs and then, hopefully, our professional dreams?
Shift your mentality about marketing
Instead of seeing marketing as primal hunting, try reframing it as farming. Stephan Weidner gives a hilarious account of this analogy. In hunting, one waits for her prey, pounces on it, kills it, and then feasts until the need for the next one comes around. This doesn’t exactly resonate with the helping profession mentality. If we, instead, think of marketing as farming we can see that we need to clear and treat the soil, plant the seeds, and tend to them in order to produce a plentiful replenishable crop. This is a much better analogy for the reality of marketing.
Replace fear of the unknown with knowledge
When we look at the next statement “marketing is foreign to me” we begin to get to the root of the issue. Sometimes people say they “hate” something because they don’t understand it or feel overwhelmed because they believe to be successful at it they have to completely master it. There are currently 29 traditional marketing techniques and 40 more added specifically for internet marketing. It’s easy to see why one would feel overwhelmed and inexperienced to take it on. Take some time to reflect on your own style and choose to market your services in a way that is consistent with your strengths and values. Find a couple of other coaches who are offering the same types of services and ask them how they do it. Remember, you are a consumer too. If there are marketing tactics that you don’t like, don’t use them. The truth is, an effective marketing plan is critical to developing and growing your career coaching practice.
Take time to consider your market
Now that we’ve begun to reframe our ideology about marketing, let’s look at the client demand for career coaching services. If you have been coaching for an organization before starting your own business, you learn what the clients in your organization need and want. You don’t have to go out and find them; they find you. However, when you start your own business, you need to expand and ground this past experience in a larger potential client pool and societal trends to be successful at attracting the right clients to your door. In December 2021, a record 4.5 million people left their jobs. This information adds to the imperative of providing your career coaching services and it is the type of trend you want to drill down on and learn more about. Ask yourself, “What is happening in our economy that leads to such trends?” Changes in the economy create a market for the services you want to offer. “What issues would motivate a client to seek my services?”
What is standing between you and a successful marketing campaign?
While you’re considering what would cause a client to seek out your services, also take a look at the flip side of that equation. What extenuating circumstances would prevent a client from hiring you? What specifically could interfere with your marketing efforts? You’ll need to consider strategies to overcome these situations. Include your client’s demographics as well as their reasons for buying. Look at your competition. Who else does what you do in your market, what do they charge, how do they compare to you, and the career coaching services you provide?
Why hire me?
Just like we teach our clients, dive into what makes your services special and different. Something only feels “faked and forced” if it’s not natural to you or reflects who you are. Every coach has their own style, strengths, and skills. Become the expert on what makes you unique. This clarity will help when it comes to marketing your particular services.You can’t market something you haven’t developed or can’t define. Ask for feedback from your clients and professional colleagues. Oftentimes, they can give us a perspective that we may not have even considered. The testimonials from your clients, also, double as a marketing tool. There is nothing like a good testimonial to motivate a client to select that service. That’s one reason why so many businesses go so aggressively for feedback. You are learning about “what is the value” that your service creates.
Marketing may be for me!
By now, hopefully, you can begin to see marketing and the revenue it creates as something that is a natural outcome for the enthusiasm you have for your career coaching practice. Why wouldn’t you want to communicate about a service that solves basic human needs and professional desires? It’s exciting! All your successful marketing is doing is helping others to see that it’s exciting and full of possibilities for them, too. Challenge yourself on stereotypes associated with marketing and sales. After all, you wouldn’t have a successful business without them. Try to reframe marketing and sales as part of your creative process. They are something to explore and experiment with wholeheartedly, not to reject outright as something foreign or impossible to master.
Start to consider your markets and what is out there that you can make yours and, also, what stands in the way of that reality. It may just be you and your viewpoint. If you view your competition as businesses you need to beat to get clients rather than as members of your community you can learn from, then you are missing out on the opportunity to explore and give light to who you are and the value you provide. This is important for intrinsic and extrinsic reasons when it comes to your satisfaction as a career coach and your client’s satisfaction in choosing your services over all the other options. You will have a healthier opinion of marketing and the value it brings to your practice so, now, go forth and market!
If you are considering opening your own practice as a side gig or full-time, you may find our Empowered Entrepreneur Program (EEP) a good fit. The course will teach you about creating an effective marketing plan and what it takes to have a successful coaching practice. Sound interesting? Click here to learn more about the program or to speak with one of our team members. Marketing can be a natural outcome of who you are. Let us show you the tools and techniques to make it a reality!