22 February 2010

Is the Internet Oversaturated with Clinicans and Coaches?

Close to 100 years ago one of the "fathers" of modern advertising taught that it generally took a man 20 exposures to an ad to buy the product [apparently they didn't let women out of the house then, or we couldn't read, or it was illegal for us to carry money and transact a purchase, or something, but that's a different topic :D].

As television caught on 60 years ago and marketing psychology got more sophisticated, the conventional wisdom of the time pared the 20 exposures down to at least 7. But that was when tv only had 2 or 3 channels, you had to actually get up and walk across the room to change the channel -- imagine! -- and it wasn't on 24/7.

Now an electronic marketing message has to compete with all the other electronic media that nearly everyone is plugged into these days, sometimes more than one at a time. Plus, lots of people are pushing virtually the same services without making their unique distinctions crystal clear and without connecting to the emotional suffering of potential clients in any authentic, relationship building way.

Years ago I learned some cool things about developing and giving a signature talk as a way for people to get to know you, like you, and trust you, and thereby want to work with you or refer to you. As an introvert but experienced teacher, I found doing signature talks comfortably like teaching and much more preferable than going to braincell-sucking networking breakfasts (not that those don't work for some, they just never worked for me).

My take on the latest marketing fad about getting out of our caves and into the community is that people are craving live experiences again because we've all gotten overly isolated in our little ipod/iphone/inetbook, rss, tweetme then retweetme worlds. They want to experience our personality, energy, humor, empathy, compassion, knowledge and expertise BEFORE they commit to working with us, and being in the spotlight of a speaking event might be a place where you too can shine and then close the sale.

AND, it's also still quite possible to let your personality, energy, humor, empathy, compassion, knowledge and expertise shine through your website and other writing -- yes, even still on the internet and without having to close the sale -- because the world is not oversaturated with YOUs.

If you aren't one of the millions for whom public speaking is only slightly less objectionably scary than getting buried alive in an ant hill after a honey bath, it can be an alternative way to leverage your time and effort in reaching many people at once rather than schlepping to doctors' offices one at a time with baskets of muffins.

Bottom line, in my view, is that the smart thing to do is to make use of whatever marketing strategies fit your personality and comfort zone the best.

10 February 2010

Step 3 for Getting More Clients

Here's the simple secret:

To get more clients, narrow your sights.

I know that sounds crazy. I know it defies "logic."

I know it works.

By narrow your sights I mean focus on a specifically defined ideal client type. "People who need your help" is not a specific client type. Neither is "women with anxiety," or "children and adolescents," or "men with substance abuse issues," although each of those is a toenail closer to a useful definition.

A mistake I hear counselors, coaches and NDs make all the time is in equating the idea of the ideal client with the majority of people who already happen to show up in your practice. I always ask new clients, who is your ideal client, and they always tell me, "well, I see a lot of .....", or they say, "right now, I'm mostly getting people who...."

No. People who happen to show up when your marketing message is vague and disconnected from specific problems and their impact in daily life are not usually our ideal clients. Any warm body is not the ideal client, folks. Any paying customer is not the goal to shoot for if you want your business to thrive.

So how do you know who your ideal client is? Well, who do you want it to be? You get to decide.

Determining your ideal client is like painting a picture, or better, like writing a screenplay with characters who:

  • have the problems you are passionately interested in working with
  • make you feel competent and great at what you do
  • make your heart sing when they achieve a breakthrough
  • leave you more energized at the end of day seeing 8 of them back to back

Stop and think about this right now: What kind of client with what type of problem would be ideal for you to work with?

And don't sabotage yourself here by thinking that you'll get bored with just one type, or that you have too many interests to pick just one, or that you really don't know. Let me assure you that marketing to a specifically and narrowly defined ideal client niche will NOT prevent others from asking for an appointment. That's another counter-intuitive but absolutely true phenomenon in client attraction marketing. So don't give that another thought.

Deciding what kind of client with what type of problem is your ideal helps you know where to spend your marketing dollars. Their demographic features -- who are they and their problems -- help you correctly identify where they can be found. When you know where they can be found, you know what kind of marketing you'll need to do to reach them.

Deciding how their problem impacts their daily life, and what they want instead tells you what they need to hear from you in order to be motivated to spend money on your services. These psychographic features -- how they feel about their problem, and what motivates them to change -- help you correctly hone your marketing message. When you have an emotionally compelling marketing message it's like laying a trail of bread crumbs to your phone number or email.

Step 3 -- identify your ideal client -- is the step on which all the rest of your marketing will pivot. There's nothing more essential than this.

Coaching questions:

1. What types of problems are easy for you to help clients resolve?
2. What kind of suffering is rewarding for you to help end?
3. What kind of people do you naturally align or resonate with?
4. How old are they, in what occupational category, with what level of education and income?
5. What do these people who suffer from those problems desperately want?
6. What will they be willing to pay anything -- out of pocket -- to have?
7. What do you know without doubt you can help them achieve?