Being a masterful coach is not enough in a rapidly changing marketplace like
we are experiencing these days. Being a great leader is not enough. Being a
good person is not enough. To create meaningful change in organizations—global
monoliths, public sector not-for-profits, sole proprietorships, or even families—we
as coaches must master the "critical trinity" of business development;
we must learn how to network, market and sell.
It's not enough simply to know how to integrate networking, marketing and sales
activities. Coaching professionals must personally integrate these principles
so seamlessly into who we are being that we no longer think of them as separate,
independent, and somewhat unpleasant tasks, like taking out the trash or paying
It's crucial for coaches to find the "sweet spot" where these three
domains of networking, marketing and sales intersect. Every coach must understand
the distinctions and master the activities associated with each part of this
critical trinity in order to "seal the deal." Any deal. Influence
depends on it!
* If you're a solopreneur or small firm delivering coaching, you must find
and engage clients in order to have opportunities to deliver your services.
* If you're an internal coach or human resources director in a large organization,
you must create visibility, sell ideas, and garner support for programs in order
to have opportunities to deliver your services.
* If you're an organizational leader (particularly if you are directing an internal
coaching program), you must influence other leaders, lobby support for initiatives,
and communicate your vision so effectively that you inspire engaged, motivated
* If you're a successful business coach, you must help your leader clients to
create opportunities for the delivery of their services—to influence others,
to sell their ideas or to manage their careers for increased visibility and
The success secret in each of these scenarios is the ability to master, implement
and lead from the sweet spot mentioned above. Without mastering the distinctions
between networking, marketing, and sales, and the ability to teach those distinctions,
we cannot help our clients move past their fears of asking for what they want.
I know lots of coaches who could use some work in learning how to ask for what
This is not just about finding and retaining coaching clients. Our ability
to seal the deal—at will—is largely determined by our understanding
of the systematic, repeatable process behind it all.
Here are specific tools in each area of the "critical trinity" to
help you (and your clients) get ahead:
(building relationships as the foundation for every business activity):
informational interview is a powerful networking tool. This conversation
is designed to gather information about what an individual (or his or her company)
does. Since it's not a sales meeting, the encounter is non-threatening for the
interviewee. In fact, most people are flattered when asked to provide this small
dose of mentorship.
Informational interviews can be designed around anything your clients want
to learn. You'll collaboratively co-create questions which your clients will
ask people in their networks, helping to gain new perspectives and shed light
on particular challenges or growth areas your clients are facing.
For coaches, networking is a doorway into the sales process. The informational
interview keeps pipelines sustainably fresh, with new things coming in continually.
However, all coaches must keep networking as a distinct and ongoing process
from sales. Networking is about creating genuine and authentic human connections.
Don't forget the power of social media as a networking tool! Twitter, Facebook,
and Linked In are some of the best vehicles at our disposal now for creating
new relationships and renewing old ones!
(messaging about you or your business, service or product):
Marketing consists of anything you're doing to promote your business or ideas,
excluding activities that directly involve relationship-building or asking for
a specific outcome.
Rather than creating opportunities to deliver your services, marketing activities
allow you to actively create opportunities to deliver your message.
Think strategic leverage when you generate your marketing materials –
create them once and use them in several ways. Develop your message for a speech
and repurpose it for an article. Conduct a teleclass and record it as a podcast.
Write a book and repurpose the content into speaking engagements, appearances
and articles. Develop your website and use it to showcase your articles, speaking
engagements, blogs and other materials. If you create something and use it only
once, you are leaving money on the table and wasting your own time.
all, remember that messaging and marketing should support your business
development efforts, not be them. You don't get more clients by having
more materials—technically, you only get more materials!
(asking for what you want):
We all know this frustrating cycle: Our marketing and networking efforts create
a full pipeline of leads that suddenly pop like popcorn, generating business.
Then, while we are focusing time and energy on delivering client services, we
lose momentum for networking, marketing and sales activities. The result? We
find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of completing projects with no
further engagements on the horizon, requiring us to start generating new business
all over again. Our excuse sounds like this: "But, I'm too busy to do any
marketing or sales now. I need to focus on billable hours, and the time I spend
selling is not billable time!"
lessons learned meetings as a strategy to generate business while billing
time. Lessons learned meetings are structured interviews with your clients and
key decision-makers in the organization that take place midway through and at
the end of the engagement. You'll ask your clients what is working and what
can be improved. You'll tell your clients what they can do to help you to do
your job even more effectively. Typically, these conversations create fabulous
opportunities for you to a) ask for testimonials, b) ask for referrals, and
c) ask about your clients' upcoming challenges, projects or needs, so you can
shift the lessons learned conversation into a sales conversation. It is a highly
effective tool to actively, strategically and consistently build your business
while reducing the cycle of non-billable time between engagements!
We often think in a box when it comes to our business development mindset.
"Rainmaking"—generating new business— requires a systematic
process entailing concurrent, seamlessly integrated action in the areas of networking,
marketing and sales. When we recognize our innate strengths and eliminate our
self-deception in these areas, we can get out of our own way, allowing ourselves,
our clients, and the organizations in which we coach to easily seal the deal.
Pomerantz, MT, MCC, is an award-winning master coach and author of two books
and 25 publications on coaching, ethics and business development. She teaches
at top coach training programs worldwide, and serves on several boards for coaching
in organizations. Learn more about Suzi at http://www.suzipomerantz.com.