I've often told clients in my workshops about the way that Ritz Carlton hotels make you feel special by using your name as you check in. I know how it's done, and while it's amazing at the time, once you know the trick that's how you view it.
Today however I got very pleasantly surprised.
I'm in Lisbon, at the five star Onyria Resort in Quinta da Marinha. It's on the outskirts of Estoril, a fishing village that became a target destination for Europe's royalty around 1900.
And this hotel knows how to make you feel like royalty.
As the cab dropped me back at the hotel this evening after a day working with one of my VIP clients, the doorman opened then cab door and smiled. "Good evening Mister Cuesta. how was your day? Will you be using the pool again today? Remember the spa is open until 8 tonight."
I was flabbergasted. In fact, never has my flabbier been so gasted!
There was no reason why he should have remembered my name (and there was no luggage with tags to allow some sneaky detective work.
There was even less reason fornhim to remember that I had used the pool the night before.
Coming after a truly 5-star checkin experience (seated at a desk, rather than standing awkwardly at a counter) it has cemented the Onyria as one of my favourite destinations.
And here's the best bit.
NONE OF THIS COST THE HOTEL A PENNY.
All of this service was free.
Here's a question for you: how can you make your clients feel like royalty without spending a fortune?
I’ve been reading. It’ll be no great shock to anyone who knows me or indeed who has followed this blog over the years. The fact is, the demise of Borders merely made way for more time sitting in Costa downloading ebooks to the Kindle app on my iPad rather than sitting in Starbucks leafing through paper books
But my latest read has been a “real” book. With hard covers no less!
Most coaches and consultants use social media very badly. In this 6-Figure Blueprint Brief, Rob Cuesta discusses how to use social media to help you market your coaching, consulting or advisory practice and get more clients, make more money and have more fun.
1. Figure out where your clients are i nthe Social Media space
2. Figure out what they're doing there
3. Join the conversation, don't hijack it
Visit www.PracticeMomentum.com to get a copy of my book
One of the keys to growing in business is understanding who or what your competition is.
Whether you're trying to sell coaching, sell training, sell marketing or sell any kind of professional advice, it's only when you know the competition that you can track what they're doing, who's working with them, and why people choose one competitor over another (or over you). But if you don't know how people choose, it's difficult to influence or change their choices.
One of the key things I discovered while I was building my business was that the quality of the conversations you have will dictate the quality of your business results.
To put it another way “clients = conversations”
Think about it like this.
Most of the coaches, consultants and trainers I speak to who are still struggling face one of four problems.
They can’t get enough clients
They have enough clients, but they can’t charge enough
they have enough clients, their fees are good, but they’re not the “right” clients
they have good clients, paying good money, but they feel like their business is out of control, like it’s taking over their life and there aren’t enough hours in the day any more
Let’s take each of those in turn
Not Enough Clients
If you’re not getting enough clients, then ask yourself one simple question. Are you talking to enough people? Are you having enough conversations?
When I started my business, I was excited about the possibilities this new fangled thing called the Internet was opening up. I sat at home and designed my website. I designed brochures to download, and business cards, and had them all printed up on Vistaprint. I wrote ebooks that people would download from my website.
The only thing I didn’t do was get out of the door or get on the phone and talk to people.
However much technology can help us build our business (and it can--getting your web presence right is a cornerstone of the Natural Expert method I’ll be sharing at “Thank You!” 2012), there’s no substitute for engaging people in conversation.
That conversation can take many forms. You can meet people one-to-one, you can talk to groups, you can engage with your audience through social media--whatever it is, make sure you can engage in a TWO-WAY conversation. The mistake a lot of marketers make is that they confuse broadcasting with engagement. Your audience wants you to engage with them.
So, get out and have more conversations. Indeed, if you want to get clients now go out and have a conversation now. If you want to book yourself solid, fill your diary for next week with clients. And if you want multiple streams of coaching income, have multiple streams of conversation going on!
Can’t Charge Enough
If you’re struggling to achieve the fees you want and deserve, then the conversations you’re having don’t create enough value. One of the Power Principles I share in my workshops is that “Money follows value”. The fees you can charge directly reflect the amount of value you’re creating for your clients, and that starts with the value you create in your conversations.
So, if you want to charge more, have higher-value conversations.
Not The Right Clients
OK, I shouldn’t need to say this by now, but if you’re not getting the right clients, guess what’s wrong with your conversations? That’s right, you’re not having conversations with the right people.
If you’re a business coach or consultant, you need to be talking to business owners. If you’re a relationship coach, then talk to people with relationship issues (and remember that being in a good relationship and wanting it to stay that way or even improve is just as much of an issue as being in a bad relationship or being in no relationship at all!). If you’re a parent coach, go and talk to parents.
The mistake many professionals make is that they try to talk to everyone in the hope that their ideal client is somewhere in that group. Focus down on having the right conversations with the right people and you’ll get the right clients for you. And yes, people know people who know people, but never mistake networking for marketing!
Out Of Control
No, I’m not going to tell you that your conversations are out of control. But I am going to tell you that you’re having the wrong conversations.
If your business is out of control then you need to think about boundaries. Are your clients taking up too much time? Or expecting you to be available at unreasonable times? Talk to them about what they can expect from you. And don’t be afraid to sack clients who don’t want to accept those boundaries.
Are other areas of life encroaching? Then you may need to have a boundaries conversation there too.
And finally, maybe you also need to have a serious conversation with yourself about boundaries.
I was out earlier on today and passed a rather unusual bottle. It was labelled "French Vodka". I've never seen French vodka before, nor for that matter Russian cognac.
Now, I don't know if there's even such a thing as Russian cognac (I suspect there is), but if there was I'm not sure I'd want to try it, any more than I was tempted by the idea of French vodka.
So it's nothing to do with the reality of what the drinks are like. It's just that in my mind (and I suspect yours too), the French make cognac, and the Russians make vodka. Think of it as each country's brand in the drinks market.
And never the twain shall meet.
That's the thing about brands: they're more often based on the associations and notions attached to a brand rather than on reality. French vodka may be really nice. I'll never know.
When we try to go beyond the confines of a brand or niche--when we do things that are outside our position or reputation--it's not necessarily a bad thing.
French vodka doesn't work for me.
But what about an operating system manufacturer releasing a games console? (hands up if you own a Microsoft Xbox)
Or a computer manufacturer releasing an MP3 player (iPod anyone?)
So what's the difference?
Well first,making a French vodka puts the French in direct competition with a "brand" that is already established and dominant in the vodka market: Russia.
Second, in the world of drinks, "French" summons up ideas of grapes, wine, distilled wine (brandy, including Cognac), etc. All very different from vodka.
Third, I'm not really sure what being "french" adds to a vodka.
The Xbox and the iPod were both products that were launched into markets where there wasn't a dominant player.
The iPod succeeded because it was sold to existing Apple customers in the first instance, and solved a different problem they had (how to carry around a lot of music to listen to at will). Compared to existing MP3 players, it added an integrated store to buy and manage their music (iTunes) which at the time was unique. Finally, Apple leveraged its reputation for delivering beautiful bits of kit to then introduce a whole new group of consumers to the Apple tribe.
The Xbox struggled initially because the overlap between the world of games players and PC users wasn't perhaps as great as might have been expected. It was saved when the Kinect was launched, and added a whole new level of interaction to the world of gaming that wasn't available anywhere else (even Wii was left behind). The Kinect has allowed Microsoft to bring many diehard gamers to their platform.
So there's the clue to breaking out of your existing position or reputation and entering a new niche when the time comes:
don't take on major players in a niche or market head-on
use existing customers as a springboard
deliver something unique that's missing from your competitors' offers
leverage the strengths of your existing reputation to attract new people into your tribe.
OK, that's it for today. I'd love to know your thoughts (especially if you've tried French vodka!)
You've probably noticed that my blogging can sometimes get a little sparse--which is ironic, because I tell all my clients to blog regularly!
I could make all sorts of excuses about hectic travel schedules (though now I think about it, a post from each city I visit would probably make for an interesting series!). But I'm not going to.
Instead, I've got myself a little accountability for my blogging by joining Michele Scism and Michelle Shaefer's Ultimate Blog Challenge (http://ultimateblogchallenge.com/).
The idea is simple: by signing up you undertake to make 31 posts in January. It doesn't have to be every day--you can skip a day and then post twice later to catch up. And there are a couple of rules (such as there has to be real content; you can't just post a link to a youtube video), but on the whole it's a pretty relaxed affair. Oh and you get a daily reminder email from Michele/Michelle, along with some ideas to spark your creativity.
On the surface, it's all about making a public declaration (this is mine) that you're going to do it, and then sticking to what you've said. In that respect, it's a mechanism for creating accountability.
Even coaches need accountability; it's a great way to make sure you follow through on your committments. That's one reason why I'm constantly telling coaches they should get a coach (the other reason is that I don't see how you can pitch the value of coaching to someone if you don't see the value in it yourself, which means you not only need to get a coach, but you should pay them: no swapping services!).
But there are other good reasons for joining the Challenge.
One of the biggest pushbacks I get from my clients when I tell them to blog is "I don't know what to write about". Well, knowing that you have to write 31 posts in 31 days certainly focuses the mind! If you can find 31 things to post about, you'll never struggle to find things to post about again 9and you'll have 31 reminder emails to help you with ideas)
Another reason is about building a habit. They (the shadowy, mythical, all powerful "they" who seem to have an opinion on everything!) say that it takes 21 repetitions to make something into a habit. in which case the Challenge will form a good habit for you, and you'll have 10 reps to spare!
Finally, I'm looking forward to seeing my traffic build drastically throughout the 31 days as a result of all this activity.
Video is a great tool for showcasing your expertise and positioning yourself as the natural expert in your field, and technology has made it easier than ever to get the videos you create in front of your target audience.
I'm a great fan of video - it's why I have so many on my youtube channel (www.youtube.com/robcuesta), on my facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/6FigureBlueprint) and in the member's area of www.PracticeMomentum.com.
So I'm always on the lookout for great examples that we might not otherwise see.
I just finished watching The Conspirator - a movie about the trial of Lincoln's assassins.
Watching the "extras" it became obvious that this film was made with love, care, and attention to detail by a group of very highly knowledgable experts. There are ten featurettes - each only a minute or so long - that each highlight a different area of expertise.
If you want to see how to show your audience how much you know without being salesy or pushy, I really recommend that you rent the DVD and watch the extras.
A lot of my mentoring clients come to me terrified of competition.
It's easy to understand why - I was there myself at one point.
We've all been hypnotised into thinking like consumer brands. For a consumer brand, competition *is* bad. Here's why. In a typical consumer Market there's limited demand and over supply: in other words too many vendors chasing not enough buyers. So the law of supply and demand pushes prices down.
And many coaches put themselves into the same position by not specialising enough.
But imagine you were the marketing director of Aston Martin, eager to sell more cars.