Warning: This post explores marketing and sales tactics from the sex industry and what coaches can learn from this. If this makes you uncomfortable, just stop reading. Know that my intention is to help you and I do not mean to cause any offence in this post.
I don’t know about you, but my LinkedIn inbox is a hunting ground.
Service providers lurk in the bushes, tempting me with seemingly innocent conversational cues…
“Hey, how’s business?”.
“I’m looking to build a local network of ambitious entrepreneurs. Should we connect?”.
“I’d love to chat more about what you’re up to. When are you free?”.
The reality is, these people all have something in common: they’re hunting for customers.
The problem is, coaching isn’t a commodity.
A commodity is a basic good that is treated similarly regardless of who is selling it. For example, most people see bottled water as a commodity. If it’s a sunny day and you are thirsty, that person selling water across the street is going to be everybody’s best friend.Reece Turner
Most coaches are treating their services as a commodity, jumping on LinkedIn and private messaging people with lousy introduction messages.
But remember, your coaching offer is NOT a bottle of water.
Instead, you need to build trust and respect with potential clients, in order for them to hand over their hard-earned money.
The best example I have of this is none other than Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Yes, that street where sex workers conduct their trade. If you don’t know it, I’ll leave you to Google it.
Here are three big lessons most coaches should consider when devising their LinkedIn strategy.
1. Post content that shows people what you can do for them
Our aim on LinkedIn should be to get people messaging us (tip: this is called inbound marketing and every business needs it to be sustainable long term).
Take a walk down the Red Light District, and you’ll see sex workers posting content through the windows of the various establishments.
This kind of teasing is exactly what you want to achieve with your LinkedIn profile.
Regularly tease what you can achieve for people. Examples. Case studies. Client interviews. Success stories. These types of post show people that you have the goods and can deliver.
Not all of the time though. Nobody likes a tease after all. I would suggest a maximum of 20% of your content should look like this.
Action question: What content could you create that teases your work and builds you as an authority in your industry?
2. Use social proof to show that certain thoughts/feeling are completely normal
Whatever challenge you help people overcome, it is likely to be something that people don’t want to disclose in a public forum.
If you are a relationship coach, most people don’t want to engage with posts about “why your marriage isn’t working”.
Coaches have to work super hard to combat this.
Our friends on the Red Light District, do a great job by coming together in one street, where it is normal to see many other people looking for the same things.
This is called social proof.
If you walk into the Red Light District, you will see hundreds of people walking up and down, and you will immediately feel more comfortable that you can engage.
Key tip: Seeing other people engage, is a massive driver of engagement.Reece Turner
Make your profile, and the comments section in your posts, a safe space where people feel they can comment honestly because they see other people doing the same.
Action question: What content would you create, if your only goal was to make 100 people every week say: “That’s exactly how I’m feeling right now, and from the comments, I can see lots of others are going through the same thing”?
Getting to that point, where you have enough social proof on your posts for others to start commenting, takes some time. Be consistent. Be patient. You’ll get there.
3. Now they want you, give them something special for free
I will trust that I do not need to explain how this is displayed on the Red Light District.
The exact same thing applies to coaching.
There is no better way to capture interest than to offer something for free, in return for an email address.
Using this principle, I would suggest trying to create one resource (event, workshop, survival kit, e-Book, discovery session, cheatsheet, etc.) every month or two, which is really helpful for your audience and can be enjoyed completely free of charge.
It’s in providing this value to people that the ones who are ready for help will reveal themselves and become your best clients.Reece Turner
And after all this, you can feel great about yourself. You haven’t spent all your time harassing people, and you will likely have made many people consider your coaching offer with genuine interest.
I hope this exploration, using a rather unconventional comparison, has been helpful for you. As always, keep exploring and trying different things until you figure out the approach that works best for you.