Never Make Your Sales Funnel More Important Than Your Clients
As an entrepreneur and business consultant, I am often asked about my opinion of the benefits of a business coach. In my position, I am also the recipient of many negative comments by entrepreneurs who have had unpleasant experiences with business coaches. In this fourth installment of “An Expose into the Coaching Industry,” I am addressing the sour feelings non-coaching entrepreneurs have developed for the profession. If you are a coach, or you are considering entering the field, the following is a list of suggestions from entrepreneurs on how to relate better with your clients. The information was gathered from personal clients as well as fellow entrepreneurs on LinkedIn and Facebook.
12 Things Business Coaches Can Do to Repair the Industry’s Image
1. Say “No.”
All money is not good money. You must learn when saying “No” is in the best interest of you and the entrepreneur. You do not have to take on every client. If you cannot say ‘No” to money, you are not going to be able to effectively serve your clients.
2. Say “I Don’t Know.”
If you don’t have the answer to a question, don’t pretend that you do. Tell your client, or potential client, that you cannot answer the question, but you will get back with him after researching the answer.
3. Know when someone needs to be benched.
As a coach, part of your job is to determine whether someone is ready for your services. Have a system in place that helps in this determination. Before throwing an entrepreneur into a long-term program because it suits your financial needs, make an honest pre-assessment about their coaching needs and if you are the one to provide them. Even when an entrepreneur thinks he is ready, if you want to be the coach, you have to be able to recognize when he is not. Michael Jordan thought he was ready in high school. The coach knew that he wasn’t. Michael Jordan did not play until he proved that he was. Take a note from Jordan’s coach and bench someone who is not ready to play or who is simply not a good fit for your team.
4. Fulfill the terms of agreement.
Do what you say you are going to do. If you can’t do it, tell your client. If you don’t want to do it, tell your client and return his money. Do not half-foot around the issue. You either can or you can’t. You will, or you won’t. You must pick a side. Do not take the entrepreneur’s money and not fulfill your end of the agreement.
5. Listen to your clients.
Although you are the coach, the client is the best person to tell you what is going on in her business and life. Take the time to listen to her questions or concerns so that you are better prepared to do your job.
“If you are too busy for your clients, you are too busy for business.”
6. It is not your vision.
When an entrepreneur comes to you for coaching, respect the vision. If you are not able to see the vision, if you do not agree with the vision, or if you want to turn her vision into your vision, you need to decline the work. Furthermore, consider performing a self-check to make sure that you don’t have ulterior motives for wanting to steer someone in a certain direction.
7. Practice humility.
Ego has no place in service. A surefire way to turn-off a client, or potential client, is to treat her as if you are her master. Although you may have information the entrepreneur wants, there are other fish in the sea. She may decide to go fishing in another area.
8. Your sales funnel should not be more important than your client.
If an entrepreneur signs-up for a long-term program, but you see that it is not working for him, consider ending the agreement and refunding monies paid or cancelling future payments. Additionally, if you are in business to serve people and not just your funnel- I detest that word- consider giving them an opt-out option. For instance, if your program is 6 months, give the entrepreneur the option to opt-out after month three if he decides it is not working. You are not running a sweatshop. If it is not working, release them. This is not Egypt. You are not Pharaoh. So, let the people go.
9. Practice what you preach.
If you are not living the life that you are trying to motivate other people to live, you will not be successful. It is difficult for entrepreneurs to take you seriously if you have no experience in the subject.
10. Be professional.
Your client is not your friend or your child. Do not become so familiar in the relationship that you do not establish boundaries. Be professional in all of your communication. This is especially important if there is a difference of opinion over services.
11. Do not treat your clients like an inconvenience.
If you are too busy for your clients, you are too busy for business. There should be some process in place where they are able to communicate with you regarding questions and concerns. Even if you are not always reachable by phone, there should be some system available that allows your clients the opportunity to communicate with you about business matters.
12. Do. Not. Lie.
Do not, do not, lie to clients or potential clients about your background, skills, connections, past results, results you can achieve for the entrepreneur, or work that you have done on her behalf. Don’t. Do not.
In summary, act with integrity.
What are some things you think that coaches could do to repair the industry’s image?