She was surprised:
"How do you get clients without promising results?"
Other business coaches had promised her piles of cash. When their methods didn't deliver the kind of business results they sold, she blamed herself... "It's not the coach... It's my own fault."
I used to promise results, too. Isn’t that the only way to get clients?
After years of marketing experience, I’ve learned that sustainable trust is based on honesty and caring, not hype.
What I now promise to my clients is the following:
For an example of promising the above, check out my MasterHeart Business Mentoring page.
When people trust you, there's no need to promise results.
If what you’re offering is a product or service they’ve been wanting, they’ll sign up because they trust your expertise in that area.
Trust is developed gradually (therefore, sustainably) when we show up with authentic content on a consistent basis.
(Consistent creation is good for our personal growth, too, and for developing greater trust in our own abilities.)
In parallel, it would also be good to work on collaborating more with your colleagues -- to partner with others to bring your content to their audience, thus borrowing trust and then delivering the promised quality content.
This is why I frequently interview others -- my own clients (to help them reach more people) as well as colleagues with whom I trade interviews (those with similar-sized audience).
You can't really promise results anyway: it's always up to the client to do something to change themselves.
You can, however, truthfully promise your structure, content and care.
You can also promise that if they don't like it -- if they (or you) find that they aren't a good fit for your services -- that you will work with them to remedy the situation. There are several things you could offer in these rare cases:
By treating them well -- even if it’s not a good fit -- you allow the possibility of a longer-term relationship. Over time, you’ll gain more advocates for your business.
The relationship matters more than the promises
A surprising “secret” I’ve learned from years of working with many self-employed people:
Our ideal clients hire us because they like us. Not because of fancy promises.
They enjoy our presence and energy in their life, and that is what our ideal clients are willing to pay for.
You are irreplaceable to them. Even though your skills are replaceable, the relationship they feel with you is precious.
Ideal clients don’t hire us because we promise results. In fact, doing so may set up high expectations (unrealistic ones) that will probably later damage the relationship.
Huge promises are only needed for sales enrollment if there's not yet enough trust.
If you overpromise and then try to overdeliver, you are making your work less sustainable for yourself. You can’t keep going like that for long. Burnout will come, along with many disappointed clients.
Your ideal clients don't need you to overstretch.
By definition, if you have to try hard in order to please them, they're not your ideal client.
The ideal ones? You naturally find yourself having a good experience with them, and them with you.
May this help you with your ongoing marketing -- show up consistently with your authentic presence, and your ideal clients can’t help but develop trust in you.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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