How to Use Your Outputs to Promote Your Business Purpose

Outputs are the direct benefits your clients experience.  Align your marketing plan to your vision and offers and to deliver your marketing promises, then you will see outputs.

Potential Benefits to Your Clients

Consider potential benefits for your client.  Some are more important than others and what’s most important depends on the client.

Coaches, consultants and freelancers have many different outputs because their reasons for being in business vary.  Here are a few possibilities:

Measurable Outputs

Outputs are measurable or it is possible to point to evidence something has changed.

  • Financial benefits – often expressed as something like “Triple your income”. This is powerful because everyone wants to do better financially.  How much they want varies and so massive claims may not appeal to everyone.  Some coaches are not sure they can claim to increase revenue.  What if you promise to double it and it doesn’t work?  What you claim is the potential is there and you work together to explore how your client might get there.  You can make more confident claims as you get some idea of the financial impact of your coaching through experience.
  • Clarity about their business or some aspect of it might contribute to a marketing plan.  You don’t need to make prior claims about the financial impact of the plan.  The marketing plan will estimate likely financial benefit and you can tweak the plan to maximise revenue.
  • Save time – time is your client’s most precious resource. Offer help with time management or Done for You services, for example.  For some businesses time is a limiting factor.
  • Accountability – even where a client can work alone, their coach can remind them of the strategic or personal dimensions of life. A coach helps their client focus on their work, prioritise what they need to do and deliver to time.  Where deadlines are self-impose it is easy to defer if an external deadline presses.  A coach externalises some internal deadlines.
  • Training – some coaches offer training as part of their package, eg online or workshop, accredited or informal, part of the coaching or before or after it.  You could argue guided reading is training and so training can be embedded in a coaching offer.

Informal Outputs

Some informal outputs may be measurable but generally, it is hard to prove the client’s benefit with hard evidence.  If the client feels better and believes they have benefitted, that is sufficient.

  • Health and well-being – if someone offers a health and well-being programme, there may be measurable evidence, eg weight reduction programmes. Any coaching can improve health and well-being.  There are coaches who seek general benefits to their clients, beyond their special skills.  Whilst it may be hard to find evidence, this does not mean there is none.  If clients claim there have been changes, these can feature in testimonials or claims about the service.
  • Resilience coaching anticipates future problems. A new manager might ask for help with stress awareness and how to cope when problems proliferate.

You or Your Client’s Responsibility?

There is another dimension to outputs and that is who delivers them.  You need to be clear about expectations:

Expert Consultancy

Expert consultants deliver outputs.  This can be simple.  You deliver a website, that’s an output and you’re finished.  A good website designer can offer a more effective service.

Some offer to design a website and optimise it for sales.  If you increase income from the site, you can agree a share of profits.  A designer, working with a business with potential, can make a lot of money that way.  Some businesses pay huge retainers to designers to keep their site optimal.

This is a big responsibility for the consultant and requires a good relationship with the client.  The rewards can be significant.   If you can do this, you have a big advantage in the marketplace.

Non-Directive Consultancy or Coaching

Here the responsibility is with the client.  Typically, client and coach work together on some problem; the coach helps or challenge the client to meet their goals.

Be clear from the outset, the responsibility to meet the goals is with the client.  The coach does not profit directly from the client’s success but charges fees that reflect the value of their support to the client.

Remember, the client may not understand this approach and so be clear where responsibility for outputs lie.  I tell my prospects they remain in the driving seat, they make the decisions.  My role is to challenge what they are doing, make suggestions and help them progress and stay focused.

Coaches help with some tasks but no-one is good at everything and the client must understand they may need additional assistance.  I work with my clients to identify what needs to be done, how to do it and who does it.  Sometimes a client needs help to brief and supervise someone who works for them.

For a coach, lack of knowledge of their client’s business can be a big advantage.  It removes the temptation to take over their business and it is easier to build a relationship of equals.  The coach brings coaching skills and specialist knowledge and the client brings their specialist skills.  The coach presents them with options, helps them choose and may help carry out their choice.

What Do You Think?

Remember, outputs or benefits to the client are one dimension of the benefits of the coach or consultant’s work.  Next time, we’ll look at wider outcomes.

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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