Most of us as individuals have big hearts and a big vision for our brand and our business that doesn’t exclude anybody from the discussion (or our services, product, or offering). In fact, we work with a lot of leadership development professionals, coaches, educators, and purpose-driven organizations who have all but eradicated the word “or” from their vocabularies to embrace the tone of “and.”
The word “and” opens up the dialogue to new ideas, collaboration, and expansion. The word “or” implies a choice that needs to be made. “And” is super dreamy, but when it comes to differentiating your brand, you are going to have to make some “or” choices. When you can proactively choose who you are and who you’re for, only then can you truly reach the audience your business is built to help.
If you’re still having a hard time embracing the idea of getting narrow, think of it less as “being vague vs. being specific” and more as just being easy to understand. For example, imagine you’re getting your teeth cleaned and your dental hygienist asks what you do for a living? You tell her and her reply is “huh, what’s that? What does that mean?” That’s okay because it’s just small talk, right? Probably to distract you from the fact that you’re in a dentist chair. But if you’re telling a potential dream client what you or your business does, and they don’t understand what it is … that’s a branding problem.
The fear of eliminating a potential customer from the conversation (or *ahem* marketing plan) might feel entirely counter-intuitive. So we want you to hear this little bit of tough love: you can’t afford to be vague if you’re trying to differentiate your brand, attract your dream customers, and close the deal. Your desire to reach more people by being everything to everyone is actually negatively impacting your ability to reach the customers you can best help. It’s the brands who are willing to go out on a limb and be specific that are making money for themselves and creating impact for their communities. It’s the specificity of their brand that builds instant trust, credibility, and buy-in from their dream customers and brand evangelists.
TRY THIS: Imagine your brand through the eyes of just one person – your dream client. This can feel aggressively narrow, but just remember it’s an exercise in specificity, even if you just make a few changes to speak to “them” more clearly. Audit your entire website—from your sales page to your contact form—through their eyes. Is it easy to understand what you do? Is it clear you’re for them? What’s missing? Then go through your social media feed and even your physical space if you have one. Does it strike the tone that appeals to them? What could make them feel more at home in your brand – in person and online? What kind of impression are you leaving on them?
Once you audit your brand through the lens of your dream customer and their first impression, you’ll start to see how getting aggressively narrow isn’t as exclusive as you may have thought. For example, let’s say your dreamiest potential client loves cacti (because who doesn’t?). Her feed is filled with photos of cacti and brunch. So you start bringing more cacti into your space to make her feel more at home in your space. Now this cactus is not going to completely repel that one guy who needs what you have to offer but couldn’t care less about succulents. Or you might find that more people love cacti than you gave them credit for. P.S. The cactus is not just a cactus: it’s the words, colors, photography, and style you use to talk about your brand.
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One of the best things you can do to attract more dream clients is to tap into how your existing or past clients talk to other people about you. You can learn a lot about your own brand by getting out of your own head and into the point-of-view of someone who loved working with you. How you talk about yourself will become a little more simple, less jargon-y, and more specific about what you do and how you deliver.
TRY THIS: Imagine that you’re working from a coffee shop. You have your back turned toward most of the coffee shop customers; you are laser-focused on your work until you overhear your name. You recognize the voice… it’s of one of your past clients! She’s telling a friend about what it was like to work with you. Don’t worry – it’s only good things:
As you’re filling in the blanks, be sure to use your customer’s words as if they’re actually describing to a close and trusted friend what it’s like to work with you. This exercise is going to help you get specific about how you deliver and position yourself to future dream clients—from your in-person conversations to your newsletter and sales page language and messaging.
P.S. We’re going to be sharing more on how to get more dream customers in our free branding mini-training this Friday.
>> RSVP YOUR SPOT HERE <<
A recording will be available at the same link.
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Last week I shared a few tips and strategies for branding and selling yourself as a coach. Today what I really want to share with you is how to package your coaching engagements in a way that will help you close more deals, get more clients, and confidently take those clients through a structured process that delivers exactly what they’re looking for.
Last week we talked about narrowing in on your niche as a way to get specific about what you do, but what’s the tone and style of how you work: Are you a tough-love coach? An intuitive coach? A step-by-step methodical coach?
A great way to find your true coaching style is by explaining to your best friend what you do. You want this to be someone who is familiar with your work but maybe doesn’t totally understand what you do for a living all day. Share with her a couple case studies of what you do. Better yet, grab your smart phone and hit “record” on the conversation. As you listen back on the conversation of “what you do,” you’ll start to see themes, common words, and phrases rise to the surface. And because you’re talking to your best friend, you’re not putting up any fronts or using confusing industry jargon.
The great thing about being a coach—or creative entrepreneur in general—is the flexibility and freedom to work with your clients any way you like. But this can be a double-edge sword that can leave your engagements feeling unstructured and as if you’re reinventing the wheel every time you work. It’s a trap I’ve seen far too many coaches fall in. Without a clarified offering, your potential dream client isn’t going to feel confident hiring you.
Start packaging your offerings by laying out:
It’s important to note that your packaged offering (or offerings) is the thing that will change the most in your business. With each client you work with, you’ll see what works, what doesn’t, and refine and reiterate your offering and services (and positioning!) accordingly. So don’t be afraid that by defining an offering you’re boxing yourself in!
We get asked a lot how many packages you should offer – I think two is great and anything more than three gives your potential client too many options. (This is why we don’t believe in a la carte-ing your offerings either!)
Unless you’re an experienced coach with loads of confidence, going into a conversation without a solid process is super risky. The conversation can easily go off the rails leaving you and your client feeling all “WTF” by the end of the session. My best piece of advice is to structure your coaching sessions around specific homework exercises and worksheets! It’s doesn’t have to be anything fancy. These worksheets simply act as a conversation facilitator. They help you share (and remember!) your tools and how you help. Plus, they’ll help your client stay on track and feel like they’re actually “doing” something. It’s a win-win!
A worksheet can be tricked out with charts and graphs or it can be as simple as prompts followed by blank spaces available to fill in. Start by listing out all your typical tools. Imagine that you’re explaining them to your client and how much easier it would be to share these tools if you had them summed up in a worksheet! Grab a stack of paper and start sketching by hand what these exercises would look like. From there you can give you sketches to a designer to refine or DIY it.
Lastly, I want to share with you a worksheet that comes straight from Lesson 3 of the Braid Method ECourse. Use this exercise, The Steps You Always Take, to map out what your client’s situation looks like before they work with you and what they get when you’re done. Then, fill in how you as the coach or guide get from start to finish to get the results you want to deliver.
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