You know me: I LOVE to give advice! And I really went off on this one. A life coach shared that she’d be speaking at her first symposium and she wanted advice. This is what I wrote.
“If you want to help people, you must have a product! Give people an opportunity to try you out, take you home, and get comfortable with you before deciding they want something more.
Treat your business like internet dating. Seeing you talk or seeing your booth is like checking out your profile. Buying your CD is like meeting for coffee or having a few dates. Hiring you is like moving in together. Don’t rush the process.
Digital products are the quickest and easiest (and cheapest) to produce. Record your content by phone with audioacrobat, have a friend record an introduction, and Voila! You have a product. Use your upcoming symposium as an accountability structure.
I’m going to get hard-assed here (what a shocker) on on the subjects of marketing and products. I want you to weigh why you’re on earth, why you’re a coach, and why you’re doing a symposium against why you would coast along and rely solely on live interactions and referrals to impact just a few people. I really want you to get this: marketing isn’t primarily for your benefit. It’s about SPREADING YOUR WISDOM TO A LARGER AUDIENCE WHETHER THEY BUY OR NOT. Every email, teleclass, public appearance, product and post is an act of education and coaching.
Isn’t that what I’m doing here?
Marketing may not be what you want to do, but I believe it is our first duty–professionally and ethically–as life and world changers. Who are you to withhold your light?
That said, you ARE making a giant marketing leap (yay for you!) by public speaking.
Now about products:
Whatever you talk about at the symposium will be forgotten by most of your audience within a few days. But if they take home your product and get on your mailing list, you will contribute to them beyond the quick feel-good of your talk. Remember this talk is about more than getting you clients– it’s about helping people!
Another reason it’s important to have a product to sell, besides the first date metaphor: you are giving your audience an opportunity to take action and invest in themselves right on the spot, whether they hire you or not. You are TRAINING your audience to take positive action.
Years ago I saw Jay Abrams (big marketing guru) speak, and something he said really shook my perceptions. He said not only do we have a moral obligation to NOT oversell (selling people more than they need), we have a MORAL OBLIGATION to not undersell… to sell less than the client needs. Boy did that freak me out! I had to stop letting clients off the hook.I had to risk getting fewer clients for the sake of serving my clients better.
Back to the subject at hand… you will only coach a few people in your life, even if that few amounts to hundreds or thousands. Products and marketing are much bigger than promoting your business and getting you more clients: they’re to reach and transform hundreds of thousands of people you will never coach directly, or perhaps never meet. That person who takes home your CD may pass it on to someone else who needs it.
In the final analysis, you are not promoting your coaching or facilitation. You are promoting transformation. How you deliver that transformation is secondary, whether it’s groups, private one on one, or a book or CD.”
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