[podcast] Holiday Practice Building Tips – S1 Ep12

Hey, you guys, Brian Hilliard here, author of the bestselling book, Networking Like a Pro. And you are listening to Brand & Grow Your Coaching Practice.

Now, today, we are talking about some holiday practice-building tips because, right now, we are just after Thanksgiving, but before Christmas and the New Year’s. And there’s not a lot that goes on.

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For those of you who live in the United States, you know what I’m talking about. There’s not a lot that goes on here between Thanksgiving and Christmas or Hannukah or whatever holiday you celebrate.

Corporations aren’t bringing on new trainers. People aren’t hiring new coaches. There’s not a lot of speaking engagements that I’m aware of—going on conferences and things. I mean, there’s a few, but not a ton.

And like I said, if you’re living here in the United States, and you’re in this timeframe here, it can feel a little bit of a dead period.

So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about some holiday practice builder tips. We’re going to talk about some things that you can do to grow and brand your practice.

And what I did was I actually organized this in really two separate categories. And this is the way I think about it.

First, what I think about is working on the old and tying up some loose ends. I’m all about working on the old and tying up some loose ends. And then, I’m all about looking towards the new, looking ahead towards the new things coming up on the horizon. And obviously, that’s going into the New Year.

But more importantly, if you’ve been in this, again, business for a while, or even just a year or two, you know that January is a huge time. People are making their New Year’s resolution, “new year, new you.” They’re all about change. That’s a whole other conversation. They’re actually all about different results, and not necessarily about change… but again, separate conversation. They’re all about different results, and potentially, doing some different things. And obviously, that’s where we as a coach would come in.

So, first, we’re going to talk about working on the old. That’s going to be today’s session. Then we’re going to talk a little bit about looking ahead, looking at and doing some of the stuff that’s new. That will be next time. And that’s all about your holiday practice builder tips.

So, a couple of things real quick. First of all, we’re talking about tying up lose ends, we’re talking about working on the old. During this time, I always make it a point—and I tell people this, and I do it myself—absolutely lock down your marketing and branding infrastructure. Lock down your marketing and branding infrastructure.

Now, what do I mean by that? Well, quite simply, I’m talking about your website.

I’m actually in the middle of a redesign myself. I can’t say I always redesign my website at the end of the year because I can’t imagine that that’s true nor would I recommend it. But you know what? I am looking. I am always looking at my blogs, my website and making sure that it has the same message and doing the same things that I wanted to. Is it getting me the results that I thought it should and could?

I’m looking at that. I’m putting in things like my elevator pitch (if that’s changed). I’m updating my bio, maybe changing some pictures out.

I’m also getting myself—we’re talking about marketing and branding infrastructure. If you don’t have a contact management system or a CRM, you need to look into that. That is absolutely huge when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing, some place where you can meet people, put it into your database, bing, bang, and you are ready to go!

Social media, big thing. I personally am a LinkedIn and Facebook man. And I use YouTube for my videos and things like that. I use Twitter too. I shouldn’t say that. If you want to take a look at this in terms of your profiles, again, that’s saying the right thing.

I actually need to go back and take a look at it myself, my business page and my personal page. I’m talking about Facebook. Make sure that that’s on point.

I’m in the process of actually recording a video for one of our business pages, a call-to-action video directly from Facebook. Again, make sure that your process is right. Make sure that, if in this case, Facebook, your profiles are right. If you’re doing a call-to-action, great, a call-to-action video. Make sure it’s going to the right landing pages, which is another point as it relates to marketing infrastructure.

A landing page is a great place for people to sign up for your newsletter, sign up for a free report or a download. If you’re not sure where the landing page is, look at that bottom line or whatever. But essentially, you’ve seen it before—go to this page, put in your information, download this free deal. And the proprietor, the service provider now has your email. They can have a list and do some other things with it.

If you don’t have that, you really need to do that because a lot of people say, “Well, I haven’t had the time to put it together,” I totally get that! I totally get that. Now is a great time to be doing that.

Let’s see here. We’re talking about social media. And the landing page was actually number four.

Number five is an online newsletter which dovetails perfectly with your social media and your landing page conversation. if you don’t have a newsletter that goes out right now on a relatively consistent basis (and I’m talking about once a month, I’m talking about blogging, I’m talking about posting, I’m talking about audios and videos going out to your newsletter, to your folks, to your following), then I got to tell you, you’re really trying to build and brand and grow your practice the hard way.

With the Internet—I know you guys know this—with the Internet, there’s really no excuse for not having a decent following.

Now, sometimes, people say to me, “Oh, well, you know, I have a thousand Facebook followers,” alright, that’s great. Two problems, 1) they’re not on your platforms, so Mark Zuckerberg could change the rules any time he wants, and he has and 2) they don’t always go out. Every post you send out doesn’t always go out to everybody, whether it’s a business page or even your personal page.

So, you need to make sure that that’s locked down.

And then,  the other thing too real quick—people don’t think about this in terms of infrastructure, but I’m doing this myself—getting yourself some help or in this case, a virtual assistant. I didn’t have one when I first started, I did get one later on, stopped (the economy, we had some challenges and things like that) and I’m back on the train again—I got to tell you.

A virtual assistant is huge. A virtual assistant is huge. They can do some back office stuff for you. For me, they’re going to be publishing my newsletter, handling my social media, uploading my podcast. All these kind of what I call “backoffice marketing,” they’re going to be doing.

And I would consider that a part of my marketing infrastructure (even though it’s obviously a person and not a piece of equipment or a tool) because they go a long way towards making sure that the trains run on time.

So, that’s the first part of working on the old and tying up some loose ends.

The other thing you want to tie up in terms of losing ends is make sure that your service offerings are absolutely rock solid. I’m talking about your programs. I’m talking about your coaching programs, your one-on-one, maybe your group coaching. Make sure that it’s organized in a way that people can readily understand.

I’ve got a couple of clients I’m working on right now where we’re doing this exact same thing—one actually is a lawyer, another one is a financial person. And what we’re doing is we are working on the idea of, “Listen, we need to make sure that you guys,” the service person, the person I’m working with, “have a prospective offering to people that others would want to buy.”

That’s a big problem a lot of the coaches have. We just have this general idea of working with us: a life coach, “Ooh, we just want to get better”; a business coach, “Ooh, we just want to get better”; a marketing coach like myself, “Ooh, we just want to get more.” Get real specific.

We’ll talk about this more actually going into the New Year because that’s a big, big conversation. But for now, if you don’t have things really organized—I’m talking about, at the very least, some one-on-one private session programs, some small group programs if you want, maybe some self-studies if you want—

I’m not saying you have to have all three. But there needs to be groups one, two and three inside of your private one-on-one sessions. If you don’t have that, there’s a challenge. If people can’t readily see that—

And when I say “have that,” I mean like a low, medium and high, not just “work with me for 15 months at $1500 a month.” It needs to be something like, “At the low level, you’re doing this. At the middle level, you’re doing that. At the high level, you’re doing this. And that falls under one-on-one private sessions.”

So, hopefully, that made sense for you. But absolutely, take a look at your service offerings. Make sure that they’re sharp, make sure that they’re consumable (another point we’ll talk about at another time), easily able to buy, and make sure that they have an inherent value proposition that people would want to know about and to buy.

So, those are the two things in terms of looking at the old and tying up some loose ends. Next time, we are going to look ahead. That is right, ladies and gentlemen. We are going to look ahead as we talk about the holiday system and some practice-building tips this holiday season.

But in the meantime, my name is Brian Hilliard saying, “So long! Take care. And thanks so much for your time.”