The real challenge to marketing your implicit promise is, how implicit should be? You move from Otium to Negotium when you market. The preparation you do as a private person, ready to invest in your client, is crucial.
Three Types of Consultancy
Let’s revise three approaches to consultancy.
- The expert consultant is someone hired to solve a specific well-defined problem, eg a website designer. Expert consultants act as temporary staff members, contributing specialist skills.
- Non-directive consultants – start from the assumption the client is the expert. I normally refer to them as coaches. A coach draws out the expertise of the client. These are people who listen their clients into free speech.
- The hybrid coach, uses both coaching and expert consultancy. Usually, they help the client meet their objective as a coach and provide advice and guidance in the coach’s specialist area.
I guess most coaches are type three – hybrid coaches. Their role as a coach is their implicit promise. How implicit does their coaching promise have to be?
Marketing Your Implicit Promise
Coaches do not offer technical solutions. Hybrid coaches need to be clear when they stop coaching and switch to teaching. The challenge is to help the prospect understand the distinction.
The coach offers adaptive as opposed to technical change. This means the coach helps their client change their behaviour. Their aim is to name behaviours that prevent the client reaching their goals.
Changes in behaviour imply changes to the techniques the client uses to meet their goals. Adaptive change drives technical change. Many problems people encounter emerge when technical changes demand adaptive change. This is why people find new techniques don’t work because they demand changes for which they are not prepared.
How do you market this?
You put the client in the driving seat. Not only are they the expert in their business or life, they also drive the coaching.
It is their responsibility to choose what they discuss with coach, what they implement and how they implement it. The coach may offer accountability but it is the client’s responsibility to make sure change happens.
I am not there to tell clients how to run their business or life. My responsibility is to create the space wherein the client can share their thinking. When we get it right my role as coach is to boost their thinking, help them go further, faster.
We may spend a lot of time rejecting possible approaches. If the client has difficulty making decisions, we name barriers and seek ways to approach them.
My clients set the agenda for the meeting. I create the space in which we discuss their agenda. I might challenge the agenda, eg by asking why they want to discuss this topic. But it is always the clients’ agenda.
I help the client by using my structure. I have questions for the client between sessions. These help the client name the issues to discuss next and help me understand the client’s perspective.
Where we need to discuss technical approaches, we may move to a more didactic approach. I offer a done-with-you approach or recommend third-party support.
What the Client Needs to Know
The client needs to understand their problem. I use an enrolment interview to help them. Then we discuss whether I can help.
If we believe I can, I explain my approach. Some people seek technical solutions and so are not interested. For others, clarity about their business or life is more important than taking immediate action. This is not to say they put action on hold until after the coaching. Indeed, action is essential throughout the coaching. It provides the raw material on which we can reflect together.
If this interests the client, we can discuss terms and conditions.
How to Recruit Clients to an Enrolment Meeting
This approach to marketing means you do not have to sell outside the enrolment meeting. The aim of your marketing is to get consent to a meeting.
So, you use marketing to be creative any way that addresses your business purpose, using lifestyle choices to support your marketing. The enrolment meeting has its own dynamic and the experience is different from the marketing campaign itself.
Let’s say you are a coach and a musician. You could deploy your coaching skills to your marketing campaign. This might be to offer an audience an experience that helps them understand your offer.
Alternatively, you might use your skills as a musician, even though your music might have little to do with your coaching. Why do that? The big advantage is it creates some distance between you and other similar coaches. The trombone playing coach is likely to stand out!
Of course, there may be intermediate approaches you could take up, combining coaching and musical skills. The aim is to be memorable and present yourself as a rounded human being; someone to know, like and trust.
To neglect your lifestyle aim is to lose a critical dimension to your business.
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Please comment and let me know what you like about this post. What would you like me to write about further?