hire a marketing coach...or not
When I started my business,
I wanted to save time and make more money. A marketing coach,
I thought, was the answer.
Here's what I wish someone had told me before I reached for my
Note: A couple of marketing
coaches have told me I'm a little too cynical. However, I've
also gotten grateful notes from readers who shared my views,
and this article has been reprinted by some business ezines.
1. Hire a coach who knows
your product and your market.
Coaching, pet-sitting, organizing,
marketing and weight loss services are not marketed the same
way. You can't reach high-powered business owners and stay-at-home
moms the same way.
Don't accept a canned list
of tips, tricks and techniques. What you need is an understanding
of your customers and how they buy.
2. Good coaching goes
beyond "here's what I did."
A marketing coach uses different
strategies from other kinds of coaches, let alone other businesses.
And some marketing coaches
don't understand their own success. Some were just lucky! One
"book coach" admitted she never looked at her own web
statistics. She had no idea where her own business came from.
3. "If it ain't broke,
Feeling discouraged by your
You may be doing better than others who have been in your business
a comparable length of time. Get a comparison level before you
spend big bucks for help.
4. Just because a lot
of people are doing something doesn't mean it's working.
You want to know, "Are
they making money from what they're doing?"
5. Calculate expected
results in dollars.
"Double your ebook sales"
sounds good -- but what if you've only sold one for $20? Sell
two and the coach kept his promise!
At t his rate, you'll need
a hundred years to recover the coach's fees.
6. Your coach should read
and analyze your materials before each meeting -- not during
You need thoughtful insight,
not impromptu, top-of-mind ideas.
7. Evaluate coaching by
Several people have gotten
so excited by an idea we offered a testimonial after two weeks
of coaching. Three months later, they wanted to take back our
Be especially careful when you do a reference check and you hear,
"Great coach! My website looks terrific! Well, I didn't
really increase sales -- but I loved my coach."
8. Get an idea of what
process the coach suggests.
There's no magic in marketing.
Generally you need to network, give talks, identify benefits,
and make calls. If you're not willing to do any of these things,
you may not benefit from hiring a marketing coach.
"Just write a book."
"Just get on the speaking circuit."
Great advice -- give yourself two to five years to implement.
9. Anyone can get great
testimonials from clients.
If you can't get a referral from someone you know, pay for a
Try out a few ideas. Allow
enough time to see results. Then, and only then, schedule follow-up
10. You can lose more
than the fees you paid.
One marketing consultant
said, "I charge $100 to evaluate your website and I guarantee
my work. There is no risk!"
Wrong. If you follow bad
advice you can lose clients and business for months. One "expert"
tells clients not to schedule free sample sessions -- generally
a mistake in the career and life coaching business. Follow this
advice and you'll turn away business.
And there's the rub. You
hire a consultant because you feel clueless -- but blindly following
advice can do serious harm. Some of the most successful business
owners I know haven't paid a dime for marketing help. They follow
their intuition, which is not for sale. They may hire someone
to implement their ideas, such as a web designer, but they know
their market well and won't let anyone else create their strategy.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Author, Career Consultant, Speaker
*Fast Track to Career Freedom*