To grow your business, you need a decent product, a clear message, and a Swiss-army-knife of skills to guide you forward.
Some coaches can help develop your skills, but too many are frauds, and it can be hard to tell the difference. Making matters worse is the number of coach “credentialing” bodies. Ostensibly, these attest to the level of training the coach received but cannot assure you of the level of skill the coach developed. Credentials alone are no guarantee of quality, experience, competence, or even relevance for the business coaching that will make a difference for your bottom line.
If Your Business Coach Cannot Make a Reliable Promise to Grow Your Revenue, Then Don’t Hire Them!
If you have a leaky pipe, a professional plumber can take a look and make a reliable promise to fix it. The same is true of an auto-mechanic. With the complexity of the human body, even physicians can promise diagnostics and treatment for improvement. The hallmark of a professional is their ability to make and fulfill promises that clients find valuable. So why are so few business coaches willing or able to promise results with their clients?
In the article below, I’m going to look at four reasons coaches fail to promise results and give you, the business owner, some guidance on promises your coach needs to make for your success so that you can make more money.
- Lack of Diagnostic tools
- Lack of Control
- Lack of Process and Clarity
- Necessary, but Insufficient Skills
1. Lack of diagnostic tools
No professional business coach can promise results unless they begin their engagement with one or more assessments of where you are, where you want to go, and what’s in your way.
The value that diagnostics provide to clients comes from seeing their current circumstances through a new lens. New perspectives have the advantage of exposing novel actions to take in light of what the diagnostics revealed. These diagnostic tools can range from formal surveys and measurements to verbal assessments during the first few interactions. Regardless of the method, an evaluation has to precede a promise of results the same way a physician performs a diagnosis before writing a prescription.
It would be surprising, if not unethical, for a business coach to promise results upfront. However, you should expect your coach to make and fulfill promises after an initial period of diagnosis or to refer you to somebody who can. The latter is a sign of professionalism when your needs do not align with your coach’s offer.
2. Lack of Control
Coaches are often reluctant to promise results based on a “Client Responsibility Model” (O’Neill, 2000). It holds that the coach’s primary job is to be a catalyst for change and that it is the client who needs to do the work and produce the results. Partly related to role-clarity, a coach who promises results moves closer to being a consultant than a coach.
Regardless of the title, whether coach, consultant or contractor, business owners want results. Many coaches are reluctant to promise results because they believe it’s the client’s job to produce results, and the coach cannot control the client. This is misguided thinking based on a failure to understand how promises work.
A unilateral promise would indeed be a recipe for failure. But effective business coaching is a shared promise between coach and client for results. A physical trainer is in the same position when they say, “I can get you in shape, but only if you do your part.”
An effective business coach is also a leader. Leaders make promises when they commit to producing results through their team’s efforts. Leaders do this even though their team does most of the work. In our business coaching case, the promise is that the coach and client will produce results together. That means that the client also has to make promises to the coach. Those promises need to include
- Being open to taking on new responsibilities
- Learning new perspectives
- Developing new skills
- Changing behaviors
- In short, the client is promising to be “coachable.”
A coach who fails to promise results is acting from fear that the client’s promise in the coaching relationship is unreliable. The coach must recognize where the client is coming from and lead by example. The only way to do this effectively is by having a good set of diagnostic assessments early on in the agreement’s contracting phase. If the coach does not trust the client to hold their end of a shared promise, the coach should decline to work with that client or work as a pair-of-hands with a limited scope.
“Primary Goals can promise results. To do so, we start with an assessment phase, and you, the client, promise to partner with us on a path of learning and execution. It’s a shared promise.”
3. Lack of Process and Clarity
Lack of process is a significant barrier that prevents many coaches from promising results. The sheer complexity of growing a business can be overwhelming. That is true both internally from a product perspective and externally from a sales and marketing perspective. An effective business coach is akin to a “general contractor.” That means knowing what is needed, how to guide you through creating or obtaining it, and how to develop your ability to judge the quality of third-party resources accurately.
To do that, the business coach must provide a map of the territory and a plan to reach your destination. That includes letting the client know where they are on that map from earlier diagnostics and a shared commitment to reach a declared destination.
As a Certified Partner with Digital Marketer, Primary Goals uses the Value Journey Worksheet to map your marketing territory. We outline how you do the following:
- Make prospects aware of your offer,
- Get them to engage with your content,
- Have them subscribe for an entry point offer,
- Convert prospects into customers,
- Get customers to use your product or service,
- Ascend customers up your product offerings,
- Make it easy for customers to advocate for your services, and
- Promote your business.
4. Necessary, but Insufficient Skills
Fire requires fuel, heat, and oxygen. It does not matter how much fuel and heat you have if there is no oxygen. An effective business coach needs to make assessments and recommendations on a broad number of systems their clients will need for growth. Many coaches bring the necessary skills to client engagements, but the client will not achieve bottom-line results unless those skills are sufficient.
The fire that powers any business is its mission – the reason it exists and the guiding principles by which it operates. To sustain that fire, businesses need a compelling message that gets prospects to engage with an offer (fuel), an automated process to nurture prospects into sales (heat), and the ability for the prospect to say “yes” and exchange money for valuable services (oxygen). We’re going to look at all four of those skills, one at a time, including how Primary Goals can help you develop sufficient skills to grow your business.
4a. Create a Powerful Mission
Too many businesses have a bland “mission statement” that neither guides nor motivates people to act. The process of creating the mission had value at some point in the past, but today, it lacks life and fails to connect with the hearts and minds of either staff or customers. This is not a fire – it’s a cold ember that needs new meaning, value, and life.
As a certified Business Made Simple coach, I can walk you through the process of clarifying your mission so that it is useful and meaningful. Together, we produce the five statements you need to guide your business.
- Your Mission – defines the purpose for which your business exists. Hint: It’s not to make money. Money is the byproduct of fulfilling your mission effectively. For non-profit organizations, your mission is not about producing impact. Instead, the impact is a byproduct of fulfilling the mission.
- Your Key Characteristics -These are the essential attributes of the people in your organization. These are what it takes to fit in and thrive in your environment. They also help with recruiting and promotion.
- Your Critical Actions – These are the core behaviors that, when performed, advance your mission forward. It’s not the granular details of each job. Instead, critical actions are the things that need repeating to take care of your mission.
- Your Story Pitch – The Story Pitch is what gets people interested in seeing a movie. You need one for your business too. It answers the question of what problem your business solves. This is why your prospects and staff should care. It also aids in recruiting by making it clear what working with you is about.
- Your Theme – This is a fundamental truth that your organization is putting into action. It’s a belief that by doing what you do, your organization takes responsibility for producing a result that matters.
4b. Tell a Compelling Story
You want to convert more visitors into leads and leads into customers. Unfortunately, the marketing to establish your professional identity online is too complicated. Dabbling in marketing not only fails to produce results, but it also leaves you feeling overwhelmed and confused. We understand that frustration, and we can walk you through a reliable process for growth that lets you focus on your strength while simplifying the chaos of your messaging.
An effective messaging strategy positions your business as a guide to help solve your customer’s problems and produce results that they care about. You establish your role as the guide with both empathy and authority. You then give your prospects a plan, call them to action, and paint a picture of their success from working with you. You also need to point out what failure they will avoid by choosing to act rather than doing nothing. This is the StoryBrand messaging framework in a nutshell. It’s highly effective, and as a Certified StoryBrand Guide, I can take you through the process with your business.
4c. Nurture Prospects Into Customers
There’s a now-common meme based on a South Park episode where gnomes are collecting underwear as part of a business venture, except that they are missing a crucial step in their process. It’s not far from the truth, where many websites collect names and email addresses but have no process in place to nurture those contacts into customers.
Nor is it sufficient to merely have an email auto-responder or a “newsletter” going out to prospects.
The purpose of a nurturing email sequence is to deliver value to the prospect, identify and overcome objections, and to make offers to take care of the future customer’s concerns.
In the case of existing customers, the nurturing process needs to ensure that customers derive the value they expected from their purchase. These emails are about ensuring the customers use or consume your product. Only then will they be positioned for additional offers as part of the follow-up.
Lastly, just as important as the externally-facing messages that go out, one also needs formal and automated processes in place that track where prospects are in your pipeline. This tracking lets staff take the required actions to keep prospects and customers from falling through the cracks.
For all those reasons and more, Primary Goals is a Certified Partner with Infusionsoft by Keap. Businesses in their early stages of development benefit from the simple process automation of Keap and more mature companies benefit from the full-featured business-process-automation that Infusionsoft provides.
4d. Make It Easy to Do Business With You
You have a great product. Your service is fantastic, and your customers love you. Yet something is getting in the way of closing your sales. An effective business coach has to be able to review your sales process, from proposals through onboarding, and make recommendations on how to plug these holes.
For lower-ticket sales, doing business means that customers need to buy your product or service by entering their credit card securely online. But for larger ticket items, or where there’s more personal touch involved, you’re going to need a reliable process to create proposals that sell.
Your coach has to be able to assist you with the process of writing effective proposals.
As a Business Made Simple Coach, we guide clients through the most effective framework for creating proposals that win the deal. It’s based on the “Proposals Made Simple” course.
- Setting the Hook – Proposals need to start with a problem relevant to your prospect, rather than being about you or your company.
- Proposing the Solution – this is about solving the problem with your offer, rather than selling your solution to solve the problem. The priority matters.
- The Plan – customers need to see that it’s easy to get started working with you and have a clear path for them to achieve the results they want.
- The Price – You need to position the price as an investment in your customer’s success rather than a cost. It also has to be easy to give you money, with a deadline to drive action.
- The Guide – Only now do you start talking about yourself, and here, only to emphasize that you empathize with your prospect’s pain and that you have the authority to help them.
- The Call to Action – There needs to be one thing that you want the prospect to do, with a specific reason why and a deadline.