Learn “Marketing Funnel 101” for CoachesIn this podcast I am interviewed by Ann Kelly at A New Leaf Coaching who supports educators, trainers and coaches to create a safe and celebratory Inspired Learning environment for all learners. A New Leaf Coaching caters to progressive organizations that demand improved performance on the job in exchange for employee education. New Leaf Coaching ensures that participants will maintain the skills, enthusiasm and personal motivation to transfer what they have learned back on the job.

Ann interviewed me about increasing the number of takers of her service offerings, which led to an unexpected and engaging dialogue about marketing and sales! Ann’s website is http://www.anewleafcoaching.com/.

Listen to the Marketing Funnel 101 podcast here. Enjoy!

What are your ideas on a response which would bring reluctant individuals to a complimentary conversation, while honoring their perception of how their time is best spent?

I look at things in terms of inner and outer games. If you are encountering these types of situations, check your inner game first, clear your own energy and get confident in your coaching. Boost that up a bit as much as you can. There are things you can do with the outer game, too. Understand that these types of clients are really going to need to see the coaching benefit. A good analogy is, “When I’m up to my neck in alligators, it’s hard for me to remember to drain the swamp.” They need to hear a message a few times before they’re going to really be able to get it, and maybe receive the message in some different ways. One thing that’s important is to be consistent and persistent.

As you send potential clients different communications – emails, ebooks, 1-sheet tips – you could have a little endorsement at the bottom from one of your clients that was very overwhelmed and didn’t create space for coaching. They might say, “Hi, Ann, I never thought I would even have time for a coaching session but when I made that time, I found I was able to have an extra hour every day to get even more work done. Thank you very much! ~ Suzie Coach from Pennsylvania” Put an endorsement on there that’s going to speak to those people. And know that it’s going to even more contacts with them, otherwise known as, “Drip Marketing,” which means that little by little by little, they’ll start to really hear your message. Ann was reminded of a quote she kept by her desk, “Don’t sell coaching. Instead sell the problems you will solve and the results you will deliver.” Perfectly stated!

What is the “just right” number of times to follow-up with a prospect?

Many of us as coaches and fellow entrepreneurs haven’t been trained in the marketing aspect. 80% of the sales are made on the 5th contact. Only 10% of sales people go past the 4th contact. People tend to stop at 3 or 4 contacts. We get exhausted and we start questioning ourselves. We say, “Well I’ve made 3 or 4 contacts with 50 people but where are my sales?” So instead of making 3 or 4 contacts with 50 people, make 5 contacts with 30 people. Go deep! 5 is the minimum number of contacts – 7 is ideal!

The 5 contacts can be over a period of 10 weeks. Just get people into your marketing funnel. At a certain point the momentum will start to gather. Don’t make all 5 contacts in one week, of course. 😉 But maybe 5 contacts over a 10 or 12 week cycle is completely acceptable. Plot it out a little bit.

What should I emphasize when offering a complimentary conversation to someone?

They might not realize the value of your time. Send them a certificate that says, “You are entitled to a Free Coaching Session (1 Hour Value = $200). They might not understand the benefit they’re going to receive from coaching, otherwise they’d be running to it. Ask your current clients what tangible benefits they receive from your coaching so that you may speak to people about it. Which is going to be a more compelling tangible benefit, “Oh, I lost some weight” versus “I lost 20 pounds in 4 months effortlessly!” Another little trick from the financial industry is to say, “Give me an hour of your time and if you don’t feel you received at least 1 idea that will help you with {problem your target audience is experiencing}, you get a cup of Starbucks coffee, on me!” This shows they’re not taking all the risk – you’re also giving something back. And that makes you appear very confident when you can make an offer like that.

How long do you recommend offering a service or product, which does not immediately catch on? Is there an easy way to know when to move on to something new, as opposed to giving a new service or product additional germination time?

Recognize that more than likely you have a marketing problem, not a service/product problem. Here’s what I suggest:

1. Add More Steps in Your Marketing Funnel

It could be that there were people that would go on your retreat, but perhaps they didn’t yet have enough “experiences of you.” So you might have offered a complimentary conversation, a free ebook, some other things. Make sure you have enough other steps (again, 5-7 contacts) before presenting your product or service offer. Consider other marketing steps that need to be done first.

2. Keep Building Your List – Typical GOOD Redemption Rate is only 1-5%

Also look at the number of people you sent the offer out to. For instance if I have a list of 100 people, I know I can count on 10% opening an email or responding in some way. And really people buying anywhere from 1%-5% is very good. Many times as coaches we’re so close to our lists and so close to our people that we imagine we should be experiencing these really high response rates with our offers. If I want to get 10 people to that retreat, I might even try to get that offer in front of 1,000 people.

3. Develop Strategic Alliances and Joint Ventures

The other thing I would do if my product or service wasn’t immediately catching on is I’d go back and build my list up. I’d get more people into the funnel. Get the offer in front of more people. One really great way to do that is to reach out to strategic alliance partners or joint ventures with big lists who happen to share your target audience. Say, “I’ll give you 50% of registration revenues for anybody you send me.” If you could get a bunch of people into that retreat you give an experience of you – then sell them coaching, you sell them another retreat. Offer to your partners, “I’ll give you 75%, even 100%” to get those people on your list and in the door and have an experience with you. Look at getting this out in front of a larger number of people. Give people the experience of you, even smaller bites of you, in advance of the retreat offering, which might be your “5th” contact.

What golden opportunity are most coaches missing in their practices? For instance, do you recommend all coaches have an ezine, information product, or in-person seminars? Do one or two stand out as essential, in your experience?

Understand this magic essence of offering something for free…people will start to get an experience of coaching (which they’re not sure about to begin with), and then start to get comfortable with the idea of coaching with us. Most coaches really don’t even like the word, “selling.” We need to get comfortable with the process of how this works. Have some free things to offer people, even before the complimentary coaching sessions such as an ecourse or ezine. Know the free stuff is a marketing tool. Even the incentive of revenue to strategic partners is worth the value of getting all these people in front of me. Start thinking about marketing and selling. An ICA coach once asked me what % did you spend marketing versus coaching, as a new coach? In the first year it’s 50/50 if not 70/30! My first year coaching I spent up to 70% of my time networking and writing/promoting my ezine, and only 30% delivering coaching. Once we have that understanding, “Oh! That’s the starting out ratio and I’m going to do that,” then it becomes easier and we don’t resist marketing and coaching.

Do not resist the marketing and sales process. It is a process and it does work. Allow and embrace these processes and use them to your advantage!

What % of time do you currently spend marketing your business versus delivering coaching? What marketing processes do you have in place to grow your list? We would love to share your stories below!