Monthly Archives: April 2018

A key provides access

How Your Offer Provides Access to Other Services

Last time, I suggested coaches might offer style advice as an extra.  If this includes meeting with a style coach, it’s an example of how a coach provides access to other services.

What is It?

Coaches and other business people open doors to additional support, as a step towards collaboration between businesses.  Here are three types of support.

Collaboration delivering an offer.  A business that offers businesses outdoor pursuits as an opportunity for team building or strategic planning needs experts to supervise outdoor pursuits and business coaches.  One or the other is likely to be brought in.

Another approach is to offer bonuses.  These may be optional or integral but not strictly part of the offer.  They are something the client takes advantage of if they choose.

For example, as part of my coaching, I might offer a free session with a style coach.  I can approach this as optional.  Or I can suggest this is important and so make it integral to my offer.  If the client refuses, it is unlikely to have a major impact on the overall success of the package.

Finally, you can have contacts on your books and offer to set up meetings.

Value to the Client

The value is potentially three-fold:

  • It raises awareness of a particular aspect of the coaching subject
  • It introduces the client to a specialist in a particular field
  • And saves time for the client.

The specialist gains by perhaps finding a new client themselves.

How to Get There

This is an unsung aspect of networking.  If you make contact with people offering suitable services, build a database of likely contacts.  These people may offer additional services to your clients.

Two things to consider.  One is the quality of their services.  Should you offer to put your client in touch with someone, if you do not know the quality of their services?  If you have not used them before, explain this to the client and suggest they report back to you about how it goes.  It might be possible to approach the third-party together.

As an advocate can you negotiate a good deal for your client?  Most coaches offer a free first session.  What does the third-party provider normally offer and are they willing to offer a bit more?  Also, is a discount on normal prices possible?  Clients are often reluctant to ask on their own behalf and if you do it for them, it adds value to your offer.

Your Offer

Ideally, you want three happy people if you do this as part of your offer.  You, your client and the third-party should all benefit.  Building a portfolio of good referrals can be really helpful.

And remember, if you add clients to your list of trusted providers they have another reason to value your service.

This is the seventeenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

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Bowling green with balls in position

When to Choose Brand or Direct Marketing

Brand or direct marketing are two distinct approaches and some marketers claim they’re polar opposites.  They say you can do both but not at the same time.

Outreach or Targeting?

I prefer to think of these approaches as outreach or targeting.  They are distinct roles within your marketing strategy.

Outreach or brand marketing aims to raise awareness of your business.  This approach to marketing raises awareness by telling stories.  People tell stories through public speaking, videos, audio, text (online and off) and images such as logos.

Mostly outreach is free.  You put your message out there and hope people get in touch.  Sometimes people describe this approach to finding prospects as organic.  If you create a video that goes viral, it is free marketing as it raises the profile of your brand.

However, it is not strictly true this approach is free.  You may have paid to create the video that goes viral.  The real point is you cannot measure how successful the video is at creating customers.  Yes, you can ask customers why they came to you but you don’t really know how much exposure to your brand they had.

Targeting is direct marketing to a specific group of people.   Facebook Pay-per-Click ads are an example.  You target the ad using Facebook’s famous database, so that your ad appears on the screens of only those you wish to target.  You pay Facebook for access to their database.

Facebook offers Analytics with its database.  You can work out how many people see your ad, how many click on it and then respond to your call to action.  You know how much you paid Facebook (plus anyone else) to develop your ad.  Divide this into the spend by customers who respond to the ad and you know how much it costs to get that level of income.  If the number is greater than 1, you can afford to repeat the ad.

Measuring Success

  1. What do you measure? Do you know your return on investment in targeted marketing?
  2. How do you know your brand marketing is worthwhile? You may know how much it costs but you cannot measure its success.
  3. Are you clear about what you should measure?

Can You Do Both?

Think in terms of a marketing funnel.  Or the awareness ladder.  Brand marketing works better at earlier stages.  It raises awareness of the problem and possible solutions.  Direct marketing is where you convert interested people into prospects or customers.

Think of these two approaches as complementary. Any given method is either brand or direct marketing.  If you can measure it, it is direct, otherwise it is brand.  Sometimes a method might switch if you work out how to measure or target it.

For example, one early example of direct marketing is the coupon.  It carries a code so you know which publication it came from.  So, you can measure the success of ads in several publications.

Television advertising presents a problem because it is clearly brand advertising.  People might be influenced to the extent they switch brand at the supermarket but it is impossible to know how many are so influenced.

One way round this was to add a code to the TV advert.  Ask customers to write the code on a coupon and they receive a bonus.  Apparently this worked for some businesses.

So, outreach or brand marketing usually aims to raise awareness and command attention.  It helps you find your market.  Direct marketing is about conversions, getting prospects to buy or at least commit to your sales process.  Make sure you know which you are doing, whatever you are doing!

Following this thirty-third post to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing, take this opportunity to sign up below.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.

Marketing Attractiveness

Attractiveness is another element of value that enhances status.  But what is it?

What is It?

Superficially, attractiveness is looking good and so covers a range of products and services.  These include clothing and cosmetics and activities that improve the look of the body, such as exercise, diet and various other therapies such as voice coaching.

At a deeper level, there is the distinction between fashion and style.  Fashion is external and followed slavishly, perhaps undermines identity.  Style is internal.  A stylish person adapts fashion to their own ends and perhaps leads fashion.

Most people mix the two, developing style based on fashion.  Neither fashion nor style necessarily equates to attractiveness but the important thing is the person feels attractive.

Value to the Client

So, what is the value of attractiveness to the client?  To some degree attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder.  Not everyone may agree your fashion and style choices are attractive.  And perhaps the most important beholder is the person themselves.  Do I believe I am attractive?

Some of us are not that bothered about our appearance.  However, it depends on the image we want to convey.  Attractiveness matters at a job interview or on a date.  Most people give their appearance some thought under such circumstances.  I might feel a little odd attending an interview in unfamiliar clothes but the impact on others is important.

Is it attractiveness we seek at formal events such as interviews?  There are of course issues around sexual harassment in employment and it could be argued that attractiveness plays to this dynamic.  This may be so but dress codes are different between a job interview and a date.

I remember an interview panel over 20 years ago, where one member objected to the candidate we appointed because he had bad teeth.  Most panels these days would not raise such issues but it is likely they still have a subconscious impact.

This adds up to the unsurprising insight that personal style matters because we need to minimise adverse unconscious prejudice.

How to Get There

Raising appearance with clients may be necessary from time to time with most coaches.  The main thing to be aware of is, if it is not in the original contract, the coach is likely to make their client defensive.  If appearance is important and is not your main concern, perhaps a bonus meeting with a style adviser might be a good way to broach the subject.

Apart from those who explicitly market their offers in terms of attractiveness, there are probably others who could but don’t.  A gymnasium for example could market on the health benefits of regular exercise but attractiveness is implicit.  Lacking attractiveness is an anxiety many people share and so explicitly addressing it is an option.

Your Offer

For coaches directly addressing appearance in some way, attractiveness may be an excellent value to add to the benefits of your offer.  Certainly crafting it in terms of personal style may help as many people warm to opportunities for self-expression.

Where attractiveness is incidental to your offer, it may be worth offering something as an optional bonus.

This is the sixteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next:  Provides Access

  • Functional: 14

Marketing to Yourself

Who is your greatest critic?  Nobody cares so much about your business as you do and so you are your greatest critic. Your greatest challenge is marketing to yourself !

Your Greatest Critic

Every business owner carries around a miniature version of themselves, who sits on their shoulder and whispers criticism in their ear.  Don’t believe me?  Where do you hear things like:

  • It won’t work.
  • I know I have something to say, but I don’t know how to say it
  • I’m stuck.
  • I feel like a failure.
  • I can give better advice to others than I can to myself.
  • If it does work, I have to do it again because things change all the time.

Critics are famous for being negative.  So much so that critical is synonymous with being negative.  But critics do dish out praise.  We’ve all seen five-star reviews.  Why do we see criticism as essentially negative?

The trick is to turn your negative critic into a positive critic.  How?  Listen to your critic and work out the story it is telling you.

You learn a lot from marketing to the world but you must also learn to market to yourself.

What’s Your Line?

  1. What is the story you tell yourself?
  2. Is it helping you?
  3. What story could you pay attention to that would be more helpful?

Creative Destruction

What does it mean to market to yourself?  If you do your marketing the right way, you make changes to the world.  You need to come up with something fresh because old ways change nothing.

This is why there is so much more to marketing than the latest technique.  If you have nothing new to share, you cannot change anything, whatever technique you use.

You may be a life coach and compete with a thousand other life coaches.  What makes you and your offer different?  What makes you stand out?  Nothing?  Or is that your critic speaking?

When you stumble upon the one thing that makes you different, everything changes.  It is an act of creative destruction.  The world shifts and now you have to start over again, building something new.

Following this thirty-second post to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing, take this opportunity to sign up below.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.

Rubber ducks floating along a drain

How to Find Entertainment in Your Offer

Beware the f-word!  It’s odd how rarely fun or entertainment features as part of an offer despite frequent references to fun in business circles.

What is It?

Perhaps for some people, fun diverts from serious matters.  Whether a welcome diversion or to be avoided at all costs, fun is definitely secondary.

However, to claim something serious is fun or entertaining in some way attracts more people.  They don’t want to be bored and no matter how important the topic, to make it palatable is no bad thing.

Fun or entertainment has intrinsic value.  It’s an opportunity to take a break, try something new and relax.  Done with others it enhances relationships and perhaps defuses antagonism.

Value to the Client

Fun may be memorable.  To what extent does fun, where it engages attention, help people remember important stuff?

Getting away from the familiar helps strategic planning or team building.  Sometimes when we engage with the unfamiliar, we find new insights spontaneously come to our attention.  Fun has utility.

So, fun helps us to

  • Build or mend relationships
  • Take a rest or respite
  • Provide space to think strategically
  • Build trust in teams
  • Learn new skills
  • Provide an effective learning environment

How to Get There

For coaches fun may be a means to an end.  It is rarely an end in itself.  If clients enjoy coaching sessions or training, they are likely to benefit more and return for more.

How do you market the fun element; convey fun without undermining seriousness of purpose?

Some things are enjoyable without being fun.  For example, a therapeutic massage may be enjoyed but we would not describe it as fun.  Clients might enjoy learning a new skill through hard work.

Your Offer

Most important is benefits to the client.  If you promise they’ll enjoy picking up benefits, all well and good.  Ask for testimonials that say they enjoyed working with you or even had fun.

This is the fifteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next:  Attractiveness

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  • Functional: 14
An hourglass

From Sales Funnel to Hourglass

We’ve all heard about sales funnels and how we all have one or need one.  What does this mean, especially when starting out?

Attention Costs

Getting someone’s attention has a cost attached to it.  This is the brutal truth about business.  You have no chance of selling unless the right people pay attention.

The first thing to be aware of is costs.  Your sales must exceed costs.  Sales are easy to calculate.  However, be aware that once you have a customer, they may make more than one purchase.  So, they may have a Lifetime Value beyond your first sale.

So what are the costs?

Costs are in money and time.  Your time has value and if you put a lot of time into meeting prospects, this impacts business success.

How many steps are there between first contact and first sale?  Each step increases costs.  I normally first encounter people through networking or speaking.  I meet interested people over coffee and usually sell at that stage.  Some funnels have four or more stages and each stage adds to costs.

With a financial value to the initial cost that brings prospects into your funnel, you can calculate the overall cost of turning a prospect into a customer.  If that is less than the lifetime value of the customer, you have a business.

I’ll share some of the calculations below.  For beginners these calculations are something to be aware of but not necessarily to worry about at the stage you are at.

Your focus is on developing offers you can sell and learning how to sell them.  You need to practice selling and so a funnel with minimal steps and low success rate is what you would expect at the start.  As success increases, so will your capacity and funnel calculations become more important.

Your Funnel

  1. Every business has a funnel although not every business is aware of it. So, can you describe your funnel?  How many steps must a prospect pass through before they become a customer?  What are the steps?
  2. Have you any idea of the lifetime value of your customers? Do they buy once or are they likely to come back for more?
  3. How likely are your customers to pass on the word to other prospects? How much of your funnel do these prospects pass through?

Calculating Costs

To make meaningful calculations, you need experience.  You need to monitor prospects and costs.  If you monitor from the start, it helps.  But it is unlikely your practices will be the same once you are established.  Early stages are likely to involve a lot of chopping and changing, so you may find these calculations make more sense once your business works to a regular pattern.

However, it is helpful to be aware of what’s going on beneath the surface, even if you don’t have monitoring in place.

You need some idea of the cost of getting someone into your funnel.  Sometimes this is straightforward, eg a pay-per-click ad has a clear cost for each click.  If you speak at an event and 10 people sign up, it is the cost of preparing for the event divided by 10.

Let’s say the cost of one person entering your funnel is £5.  Estimate the percentage of people who move to the next stage of the funnel.  Say 5 of the 10 people who sign up attend your one to one.  And 2 buy your offer.  So, 50% turn up and 40% sign up.

You divide £5 by .5 and then by .4 and this means the cost of your customer is £25.  This is actually a reasonable cost and many businesses would be envious.  What happens if the cost is £5000 or more?

Mitigating Costs

Two things mitigate costs.  The first is lifetime value.  If customers make further purchases they may exceed the initial cost over time.  This works better for some businesses than others.  It is always worth asking what else you can offer a customer who trusts you.

Second, a satisfied customer may tell their friends and this can slash the cost of your funnel, especially if customers enter your funnel towards the end and are more likely to buy because of the recommendation.

If this happens often, you have an hourglass, where as many enter your funnel towards the end as enter from the top.

Following this thirty-first post to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing, take this opportunity to sign up below.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.

outline image of massage

How to Market Therapeutic Value

In my last post about Elements of Value, I described the value of well-being.  Perhaps a more obvious value is where health–related offers have therapeutic value.

What is It?

The focus here is not so much the value of well-being in support of other activities, as curing or relieving medical conditions.

Therapy should be provided by trained medical practitioners.  Many work independently of the health service.  For example, someone using massage to treat sports injury can practice independently.  If you pay for treatment privately, it is reasonable to ask about qualifications and accountability.

So, this heading covers a multitude of alternative therapies, eg hypnosis or homeopathy.

Sometimes therapy and well-being are closely related.  Stress coaching includes aspects of well-being, eg resilience coaching but can be therapeutic for acute stress.

Many products are therapeutic, eg clothing, food and drink, prosthetics, various aids.

Value to the Client

This is fairly straightforward.  Cure of acute conditions, eg sports injuries and mitigation of chronic conditions.

Remember there are other benefits.  Mitigation of a chronic condition has a major impact on the client’s comfort, relationships, effectiveness and prowess.  The value can be far greater than immediate relief of pain or disfigurement.

How to Get There

Probably a more important aspect of this element of value is providing evidence you are qualified to treat the condition.  Show you are qualified, accountable and effective:

  • Have you been trained to a standard where you can work with patients?
  • Are you part of an organisation that checks you are providing an effective and safe service?
  • Can you show you have treated people and they value your service?

Similar questions apply for products.

Your Offer

Remember to focus on the benefits of using your service.  Chronic conditions can last for years and people become accustomed to them.  What are the benefits of taking up your offer?

It is worth focusing on a single condition so prospects who search for you see clearly you have helped people with the same condition.  Sell the benefits and not the service.  If I have heard hypnotherapy helps people give up smoking, when I see the word I may not associate it with weight loss.  So, to engage my interest tell me what you treat and not so much about how you do it!

This is the fourteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next:  Fun / entertainment

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  • Functional: 14
Mouse with a very long tail!

Finding Your Place in the Long Tail

Think about keywords.  These are terms people search for online.  Take the most popular keyword and place it first in line and then the next most popular and so on.  You will generate a curve which starts with very high numbers and quickly declines and tails off.  Obviously, the tail is massively long because of unlimited possible keywords.  Marketers call this the long tail.

History of the Long Tail

The same applied in the 1960s and 1970s.  Supermarkets came onto the scene and opened up shelf space to a range of products.  They could accommodate more than corner shops but shelves were finite.  They held a few products from the short head and very few from the long tail.

If you were in the long tail, your only option was to market locally.  You could try a market stall or door-to-door or even open a specialist shop.

With the Internet, the world changed.  Shelf-space online is infinite.  Amazon can always add more books.  However, there are only so many slots for businesses that accommodate everything.

How much impact does the Internet have on local businesses?  It increases opportunities for small businesses and some have a global reach.  By small business, I don’t mean to imply turnover is small.  A few do very well with a few staff from a single office anywhere in the world.

This leaves local businesses with pretty much the same challenges they had in the past.  Whilst the Internet can help them, for many it is a distraction.

Finding Your Short Head

  1. What is the problem your product or service solves?
  2. What restrictions do you impose on your market? (Sometimes called your niche, this is likely to be geographical plus perhaps demographics such as age or sex.)
  3. Are you aware of fundamental beliefs you hold, likely to attract like-minded people?

Strategies in the Long Tail

No local traders dominate a sector of the market to embrace the long tail in its entirety.  Big business dominates the most popular products and services.

You need strategies that help you develop a short head inside the long tail.  Identify and build your own market, using whatever skills you have.  There are people out there who need your offer but they don’t know they need it or that you can meet their need.


First, don’t be deterred by the success of others.  The very best are likely to charge very high prices.    Remember these are small businesses with low capacity.

Keep your prices below the market leader’s and you can increase your prices. Then you may find a niche with those who cannot afford the market leaders.  Resist the temptation to lower your prices to undercut your competitors.  This results in a race to the bottom and hurts everyone’s business.

If you need to build your reputation, don’t expect your prices to meet those of the market leader.  The market leader is likely to have overheads you don’t have at the start of your business.


There is another reason you should not lower prices.  Aim not to undercut but to collaborate.  There are many opportunities and the main barrier is to think of competitors as rivals.  If they have done their work, they have a clear offer, a market and worldview different from yours.  Working with people in similar businesses can be beneficial because together you can raise awareness of the problem you solve and perhaps offer joint packages, more effective than working alone.

Following this thirtieth post to encourage coaches to reflect on relational marketing, take this opportunity to sign up below.  You get a weekly round-up of my posts and a pdf about how to make sure you are charging what your business is worth.

Walkers in silhouette against sunset

Marketing Physical and Mental Well-Being

Physical and mental well-being is important and integrates into a range of packages.

What is It?

Some offers are primarily about well-being, whilst other packages integrate with aspects of well-being.

For example, a health practitioner offers outdoor activities to businesses for team building and strategic planning. This business moves from health to business services.  The offer combines business objectives with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, learn new skills and experience something other than sitting at a desk.

Other coaches offer walking days or half-days to their clients.  Walking improves physical health and it is an opportunity to reflect at a deep level.

Here are a few well-being related things businesses offer clients:

  • Physical exercise from walking to challenging outdoor or indoor activities
  • Healthy food and drink
  • Massage and other therapies
  • Clothing to enable participation in physical activity
  • Health tests and monitoring
  • Equipment, eg pedometers
  • Exercise guides, manuals, recipes.
  • Health related coaching

Value for the Client

Where someone is stuck, health can be a reason.  Chronic conditions creep up on people, particularly where they spend a lot of time sitting.

To take part in healthy activity is not just an adjunct to the serious business in hand.  Go out of the office, sit in a training session and apart from the walls, little is different.

Physical exercise helps reach for insights that do not come to someone following their daily routine.  In other words, physical activities are not just enjoyable, they are the point.  Many people can’t solve their problems because they don’t keep themselves healthy!

How to Get There

Many people understand this and seek offers that incorporate healthy activity.  Others are not so keen.  So, understand the connections between health and problem solving and show how your activities help clients meet their goals, whatever they are.

Your Offer

Be clear about what you offer.  It might be some aspect of physical and mental well-being.  On the other hand, you may use the same methods as a part of coaching to solve apparently unrelated problem.

This is the thirteenth of 31 posts about elements of value.  Make sure you don’t miss any by signing up for the offer below.  The posts in this sequence can be accessed below:

Next:  Therapeutic Value

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  • Functional: 14