the tactics trap
Michael refuses to offer
a free trial consultation. "They can read my articles or
ebooks," he shrugs. His business is booming.
Marilyn offers her clients a full half-hour of free consultation.
She has few takers.
Michael and Marilyn send
high-quality articles to ezines. Michael's opt-in list is growing.
Marilyn's opt-outs out-number new subscribers.
Michael and Marilyn promote
ebooks on their sites with dazzling "buy-me-now" sales
letters. Michael's ebooks fly off the auto-responders. Marilyn's
What's going on?
Michael helps clients make
money on the web. He's been around longer than any of his three
major competitors. He promises benefits like, "Double your
sales in thirty days!" or, "I'll help you write an
ebook in forty-eight hours." Ebook marketing is a top-ten
"hot" topic on everyone's list.
Marilyn is a life coach,
offering a me-too product in a competitive -- perhaps saturated
-- market. Even if she offers the ultimate benefit -- a perfect
life -- she'll have a lot of competition. And "career strategy"
or "life transition" doesn't make anyone's hot-topics
Marilyn has to find a niche
that truly values what she can offer. Her target market may not
be searching on the web. She may be able to reposition her services
to avoid competing with the "perfect life" coaches.
Now suppose Marilyn asks
Michael for help.
Ideally, Michael will say,
"You're not ready to work with me. I can't help you with
a marketing plan. I know what I did -- but you're in a different
More likely, Michael will
take Marilyn's money. They'll wrestle with web copy, ebook titles
and sales letters. Michael will encourage Marilyn to follow in
his footsteps: no free consulations, more free articles.
When Marilyn's sales remain
dismal, Michael shrugs, "I've done my part." And, in
a sense, he has.
Tactical consulting works
when you have solid evidence that a market exists for your product.
You know your target market will truly value the benefits you
offer and will express their valuation by taking out their credit
Before you reach this stage,
a tactical consultant or coach may actually harm you. Inappropriate
tactics cost money and divert your energy from more profitable
Listen to your intuition.
If you sense, "There's something wrong with this picture,"
If you believe, "There's
an untapped market out there," investigate further. Some
markets have needs but lack motivation.
For instance, several million
people relocate each year. They make bad decisions because they're
under stress. However, moving makes people feel poor. They'll
borrow a twelve-dollar book from the library to avoid shopping
at amazon. I learned that the hard way with my own book, Making
the Big Move.
Bottom line: Go slow and
hide your credit cards. Until you find a market that will buy
what you have to sell, your best advisor is your own inner wisdom.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Author, Career Consultant, Speaker
*Fast Track to Career Freedom*