If you’re like most business consultants or coaches you are either below the line or you’re right at the line of breaking even and you’re watching how volatile the economy is and you’re wondering what it may mean for your business.
You are great at what you do, you’re seasoned and you have already made a difference for so many businesses and people.
But you are still not getting enough clients and your wallet is extremely light.
“Why?” … you wonder? “As much as I need the business they need me as well? What is really going on that’s keeping my business consulting or coaching practice from growing?”
Since 2008, the United States has seen slow economic growth.
Already in 2016 the economy is feeling major shocks and warning signs are going off everywhere that something is not quite right.
According to the introduction in an article in Bloomberg News, the economy at the end of 2015 showed signs of how bad it may get in 2016.
The first sentence says: “Sales at U.S. retailers declined in December to wrap the weakest year since 2009, raising concern about the momentum in consumer spending heading into 2016.”
In the first 15 days of 2016, nearly $2.3 trillion has disappeared from the economy through losses in the stock market.
Oil prices are collapsing and may go below $20 per barrel, just a year ago it was over $100 per barrel.
And, CNBC says; “‘Recession worse than ’08 coming‘…”
If you’re a business consultant or coach, your revenue depends on economic growth, and especially on corporate profits. Consultants are considered an expendable cost (or one that can at least be delayed) when companies face an economic slowdown. During recessions, corporate profits may fall significantly.
If that’s true, how are you Mr. or Ms. Consultant or Coach going to shield your business from economic uncertainty and attract those businesses who realize that if they are going to survive they have to do something different and invest in someone like you who is able to help them?
Growing a Coaching or Consulting Business When Businesses Don’t Feel Good About Spending
According to research I’ve done through Reference USA; “Management consulting services, including consulting related to strategic planning, marketing, and human resources, account for about 80% of US industry revenue.”
At the same time, the average revenue for a consultant or coach according to the Labor of Bureau Statistics is $32.05 per billable hour. According to some sources I’ve seen floating around the web the average consultant or coach is making between $25,000 – $30,000 per year in gross revenue.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start my own business to make enough money just to scrape by.
Like most consultants and coaches you wisely spend a lot of time marketing. It’s the lifeblood of your business. It’s a sacrifice you make because you don’t like to market and sell but you love to make a difference and that’s why you do what you do.
Yet, what do you do when all your time is consumed talking to people who are in scarcity mode, are afraid to make a move and get the real help they need and you’re not closing sales and actually working with enough clients to grow your lifestyle and live your dreams?
In my early business days ten years ago I can remember going from one networking event to another and talking with up to ten people. I walked away encouraged only to have that bubble burst because they were the wrong ten people.
They never had any intention of talking with me about buying a thing. They didn’t’ return emails or phone calls and when seeing them at the next event there was always a cold excuse. If I had paid attention I would have known they were not the right people to be investing my precious time or emotions on.
Have you considered that the same thing is happening to you both online and offline?
How many people are leaving your website or your blog and aren’t doing a thing?
Over the course of a year how many of the wrong people have you been attracting who have consumed and wasted your time?
Sure, they leave a few comments on your blog, compliment you and then share it on social media.
But just like they did me when I was networking offline they have no intention of buying from you.
And yet you’re wasting your time, energy and emotions. Your spinning your wheels hoping that something will happen that is in all likeliness never going to happen
What has to change? What should you be looking for?
What you want to see folks is that moment when a person says “Oh my gosh? How did you know?” and they have to take action.
Isn’t that what you want?
People buy based on emotion and if you can show them logically how you can change your prospects situation and relate to them in a way that gets them excited; they will spend money on you as an investment and see it as such versus spending money that they aren’t sure they will ever get back.
Two Things You Can Do to Get the “OMG! How Did You Know?” Message
To this point you have probably communicated at a very logical level. You’re appeal to a prospect is based on what you can do for them and they are not feeling impressed. If they were, they wouldn’t be complimenting you and not buying.
If you want the results you are not getting, you have to change what you’re doing. Right?
I’m going to share with you two primary things you must do in the remainder of this article in order to grow your consulting or coaching business in any economy:
- You must establish a relevant, inspiring and compelling message that is attractive to those who are able, willing and ready to spend their money on you.
- You must leverage the internet more to find them – but you can’t do it the same way everyone else is doing it. So, I’m going to give you a few tips that I am confident will give you a “wow” moment.
Why Your Message Matters
In a recent survey by IBM, nearly 80% of consumer respondents said that businesses in virtually no way identified with them, their needs/wants/desires and didn’t even attempt to relate to them. These consumers said that businesses spoke way to much about themselves, what they do and how wonderful they are and that that narcissistic approach left them feeling like the business was just trying to sell them or they had wasted their time.
In another study, the 2015 B2B Web Usability report concluded that the number reason a person left a website immediately was due to a lack of a message.
My guess is that if I were to watch most consultants or coaches at a networking event, seminar or conference I would see them spending more time talking about themselves and what they do (or can do), instead of listening to the person across from them or making the emotional connection to the point that the person feels that the consultant or coach relates to and gets them.
Messaging is about competency and competency is the reason people buy. But they have to feel and sense it first and then believe it second.
Here is an interesting statistic:
“The US Consulting industry is fragmented: the top 50 companies account for less than 30% of industry revenue.”
That means the majority of small consulting firms and coaches are competing for 70% of the revenue that is shrinking thanks to an economy that is shrinking right in front of our eyes. You and I are now competing for fewer and fewer dollars every day.
Your message is the foundation of your business and the #1 driver of your future. If those who are able, willing and ready to buy feel that you get them you can position your business to excel in a contracting economy and outperform your competition.
Every message has a brand and every brand has a message.
What is your message?
Is it relevant, inspiring and compelling to those who you want to attract?
When you think of Southwest Airlines, Apple, Google… these massive brands conjure up an image and feeling that at the root is inspired by their message.
Again, I ask, what is your message?
Here is why messaging matters… because it gives you clarity and clarity helps you get very, very specific. Gone are the days of mass marketing where we a business speaks to everyone in hopes of attracting a few.
The media is way too fragmented for that now. We don’t have one local, dominate newspaper or three local tv stations anymore. Instead, we have hundreds of tv channels, dozens of radio stations (not including satellite and internet streaming) and billions of websites to help us get what we are looking for.
Too many businesses create their content way to broad and end up with good content, but as I shared last week its’ not GREAT content. Good content doesn’t relate or inspire your readers but great content motivates them to take action.
Your reader may leave your website feeling they’ve got something useful or interesting. But because it wasn’t specific enough for them or their needs to say; “OMG! How did he/she know?” they are not going to feel compelled to take your call-to-action (assuming you even have one).
How Do You Structure A Message?
Messaging is a function of clarity. The more clear you are around your business the more you will be able to attract the audience who says; “OMG! How did you know?” and will want to buy from you.
Clarity solves a lot of problems.
So how do we get it?
Here are five questions that I spend up to six to eight weeks helping my clients get really clear:
1. Discover the “specific” problems they are passionate about solving.
Not everyone shares your passion or is skilled in the same areas you are. Find those things and they will become central to your message as your audience feels your passion and relates to it.
2. Discover the tangible values customers experience and how they feel about the experience.
What does your ideal client experience in their time working with you and how do you want them to feel about that experience? This is critical to think about and is highly neglected in most people’s message.
3. Discover the “specific” problems they solve for each tangible value.
When I say “specific” I mean specific.
Many of us are so desirous for a large audience that we forget only a small percentage is actually going to buy from us.
We lose our potential clients when we don’t address their specific problems and needs because we are talking to everyone; then both the consultant loses out on business and the prospective client loses out on your expertise that can help them.
Specificity draws them in and gives them the feeling that you relate to them and you’re giving them a reason to buy you.
4. Discover who they “specifically” solve each problem for (in detail).
Again, it’s the same principle as above. Get specific about who it is and what they are experiencing.
5. Discover how their product or service is “a” part of “a” solution.
Your prospects don’t see you as “the” solution until they give you money. Until that point, you are “a” solution. Don’t give them a reason to shop around.
If you do well in steps 1-4 you will minimize that and earn a high probable chance at earning the business.
Finally, we take all this information, summarize it into one word for each problem and then we define from that “the business you are ‘really’ in”. That becomes the message that your world revolves around. It’s communicated over-and-over again to an audience who is searching for and desirous of that message.
Clarity creates specificity and specificity creates simplicity; consistently.
Clarity is the absence of complexity which only leads to confusion.
The truth is that developing a message is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your business, but it’s the most necessary.
How are You Finding Your Clients?
The second thing I want to share with you is: How are you finding your clients?
Are you spending a lot of time marketing at traditional venues like seminars, trade shows, industry conferences, advertising, promotional mailings, and networking?
That’s good stuff and if it works, especially as your message kicks in, then do it.
However, many consultants and coaches don’t understand how to use the web via their websites, social media, video, email, etc., to grow their businesses.
Your digital presence can hurt your business if it’s neglected as much as it can help you.
This last Friday I was at a training with the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, where I’m a member, and a discussion started about how to get around spam laws so they can send email to prospects.
Again, clarity does some amazing things when coupled with hard data.
I’ve been learning how to use major databases like First Research, Hoovers, Reference USA and Simply Map to create more specific content and also to find highly targeted business data (that can include industry statistics, financials, and individual company information). There are hundreds of millions of businesses and individuals that are telling us what is happening in the economy and in their industries by the way they spend their money and by their lifestyle choices.
Back to my point, lol…
I made a suggestion that they learn how write one blog article that solves one problem, for one person/business/industry.
Include a few businesses that you might want to work with (being positive and adding incredible value for them while not being spammy) and link to them in the article. Tag them on Twitter. (See my previous article on how I got featured in a Fortune 500 company blog)
If they have a blog or social media spend some time engaging with them.
You move in a short time from a “cold” environment to a “warm” one. After you get to know them a bit you can create a “FREE” report for them that highlight their strengths and weaknesses and offer them a solution. Just save it as a pdf and email to them.
Tell them in the email that you will follow up with them to ask if they have any questions about the report.
Folks, doing this has been HUGE for my consulting and coaching business.
Many of them are emailing me right back and asking to chat with me and I’m closing deals.
What is the simple process?
- Use the internet via your blog as a way to include a prospect and offer them extreme value.
- Engage with them on their blog (if they have one) via valuable comments that contribute to their articles.
- Engage with them on social media.
- After a period of time and getting to know them, offer some kind of a free report/analysis that gives them some insight and a few freebies that cost you nothing but could mean a great deal to them.
- Follow-up with an email, or a phone call if you can.
Clarity through a dynamic message that puts the focus on your prospects and off of you is the ticket to a thriving consulting and coaching business in any economy.
If your message is so clear and you attract those who are able, willing and ready to buy from you it won’t matter what the economy is doing because you’re going to be operating at your peak efficiency regardless.
Remember, just because the media says the economy is bad for everyone, that doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone.
Many, many millionaires and a lot of wealth are created in down economic cycles and that has been proven every single time a recession hits.
The opportunity for your business consulting or coaching has never been better and the opportunities are just waiting for you IF your message is clear, concise, relevant and inspiring to those who are ready, able and willing to buy.
Do you want to remain one of those consultants or coaches who are struggling to just get by?
Do you love what you do but you aren’t getting enough clients?
Are you ready to learn how to transform your business?
If you’re not, then don’t do anything!
But if you are, I have two things I want you to do and they are both FREE:
#1 – Click here and learn more about my webinars that will show you how to earn real clarity and join me on the live webinar. I hope to see you there!
#2 – Click here or on the image below on the book cover to get a free copy of my eBook titled “The Shift – Making the Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context Marketing”. It’s been downloaded by thousands of people just like you. Get it now because I’m not going to offer it forever.
Do you have thoughts, ideas or questions? If so, please leave share with me below in the comments and let’s chat. I would love to engage with you!