I’m doing a marketing makeover on Chris’ website. She provides professional coaching services for introverted professionals. She’s passionate about her mission, which is “To dispel the incorrect assumptions and perceptions about introversion”. Despite a 15 year background as a successful Human Resources professional, she’s not getting the results she expected online. She launched her business less than 12 months ago, but with no coaching sales, she’s starting to question her decision to focus on the introvert market.
Should she abandon her mission and go back to the corporate world? Or double her efforts and stay the course?
1. Understand what your mission really is and make sure it’s profitable and sustainable.
I don’t believe that your mission to “dispel the incorrect assumptions and perceptions about introversion” will attract the people that you need to build your business. Whilst having a mission can be a powerful marketing tool, it has to be a mission that serves us profitably, or we simply won’t survive to have any real impact in the world.
If you’re building a following of people around your mission, it’s easy to get confusing results. People appear to be following your cause. They just aren’t buying your products. There are subtleties involved that are not always easy to spot.
The very name of your mission “The Introvert Ideal” talks to NOT changing. Staying the same. Being happy with who you are. You are perfect, it’s the world that doesn’t understand you. Let’s change the world instead! This is music to the ears of people who procrastinate.
What you need is to find the audience who already believe what you believe, then there is very little resistance to your message. With private coaching, unlike corporate training, you’re selling direct to the end user and asking them to spend their own money. In this situation, the student must be highly motivated to act and there must be a very high level of trust.
So, if you want to use your skills to teach people, you need to find the people who want to be taught, the people who want to change. To want to change, they must already be feeling the PAIN of their situation. Through that PAIN, not satisfaction, you will first identify and communicate with them.
Action: Decide how you can modify your mission – not to try and change beliefs, but to speak directly to people who feel the pain of introversion and already want to change something. Then give them the tools to be more effective.
2. Your introverted customer is terrified of you. Act accordingly, create a product that bridges the fear gap.
It’s unlikely that many people will take the massive leap from not knowing you, to signing up for one-on-one coaching online. And don’t think it’s just introverts. Most people will be terrified of signing up for coaching with a stranger. The “fear of the unknown” is a wide, deep chasm between you. Failing to recognise that and providing a bridge, may signal a lack of empathy. “She doesn’t really understand me at all”.
Being familiar with the corporate world, where individuals act within a totally different framework (of being told what to do and where to go) might throw you off guard online. There are likely none of the social obligations to listen to you or work with you. You can bridge the trust gap in a number of ways, but you can also make the actual process of working with you less intimidating. Open the door, let people in, give them a sample of your best product and let them buy something less intimidating.
You will find that one-on-one coaching clients come mostly from those who have experienced your training on one of these less intimidating levels. Right now you’re trying to sell a whole hog to your customers. But emotionally, they are only ready for a pound of bacon. So, bridge that gap. Create a course that contains all the fundamental steps that you would teach face-to-face. Maybe not in the full depth you would cover one-on-one, but in enough depth to be valuable and build trust.
Make the course less than 30 days long. Containing anywhere between 4-8 lessons. And focused on one specific challenge. It should be priced in the $300-$500 range. Then, offer 20% of that course upfront for free, so that potential students can fully experience what you are offering and see results (and you in action) before taking any risk.
Action: Take your existing coaching materials and arrange them into a course that multiple students can work through at the same time, with optional, “non-invasive” support from you. Use mostly written materials. Support the course with comments or email (personal, but not intimidating). Do this in a “quick and dirty” style, do not waste months making something extravagant but test the results and iterate as you go.
3. Incorporate video into your work, start with short introductions to your written content.
If your customers can’t see you and hear you, they are less likely to trust you. Especially with coaching products that are all about being less introverted. While you might be comfortable in person, coaching one-on-one, online video can seem like a whole different ballgame. But it doesn’t have to be a big issue that distracts you and slows your progress.
With just a few simple tricks you can dramatically improve your connection and trust with your clients, without having to learn a whole new skill set. There’s a simple way to inject life into your site and open yourself up to your customers. Don’t think of producing brand new video content. Instead, get used to creating video “summaries” of your written material. Short 15-60 second videos which explain to the reader what benefit they will receive from reading and acting on each of your lessons or articles.
Action: For each piece of content, write a summary that quickly answers questions like: What problem does this solve? What disaster will it prevent? What positive outcome will they receive? What secret does it reveal? What will they be able to do? Then read your short introduction to video and place it at the beginning of each piece of content.
4. Work backwards from the end result you want to achieve for you and your customer.
There is so much advice out there, coming from so many personalities, in so many different markets. It’s easy to get confused about which path is the right one to take. What content, what media, what format? But the best path is always the one that leads to a happy and valuable relationship between you and your customer. That’s the destination, on the other side of that chasm. So, start there, with the end in mind and work backwards.
Now, I don’t know what your end goal is, but I can show you an example of how a “backwards plan” might look…
5) End goal: High end one-on-one coaching with executive introverts. 10 clients at $20k each a year.
4) Sub goal: Introvert university. Consisting of supported group coaching. 50 clients $2k each a year.
3) Sub goal: Introvert school. Consisting of short supported group coaching to solve key challenges quickly. 200 clients $300 each a year.
2) Sub goal: Introvert secrets. 15 quick and dirty fixes to common introvert challenges. These make up the core of your newsletter auto-responder sequence every new reader sees. Newsletter subscribers, 10k a year.
1) Sub goal: Introverts Winning!. 12 articles or interviews a year showing how introverts are killing it out in the real world and what they did to overcome their introverted limitations. Your best content used as guest posts on the biggest relevant blogs you can find.
By working backwards with specific goals (and clients) in mind, you can eliminate 90% of the questions that keep most people confused and overwhelmed.
Action: Write a similar backwards plan, with your own goals, and accept that you’ll have to master the lower levels, before you can master the higher levels. But that doesn’t stop you getting started and experimenting and testing.