You start your coaching business.
You’re ready to go out there and show the world what you’ve got.
There’s only one problem.
You quickly arrive at a daunting dilemma. You think, “How can I get clients without a reputation? How do I build a reputation without clients?”
The truth is, it’s all about positioning.
In this article, we’ll dive into how to position yourself to be top of mind for clients, even if you’re just starting out.
Positioning – What It Is And What It Isn’t
Positioning happens in the mind, not in reality.
It’s NOT about looking for a place in the market where you can sneak in. It is about creating a category inside the mind of your prospective customers. Here, I’ll show you how to do this.
The world is complex and full of product options. Human minds use categories as “Shortcut Decision Makers.”
We can keep about 7 or so items in any particular category inside of our mind. Let’s look at an example. Right now, list all the rental car companies you can think of. The following most likely come to mind: Hertz, Avis, Budget, National, Dollar, Thrifty… and maybe one or two others. Then you run out of names.
There are hundreds of rental car companies out there, so why do you only remember 6 or 7 of them?
That’s how the mind works. Once a category fills up, the mind closes it. This happens across all categories – canned foods, brands of cars, places to go on vacation, etc.
Most coaches don’t understand this mentality. They create a service and attempt to get into a category that’s already saturated.
But the mind doesn’t let them in. Because it’s already full.
If You’re Competing, You’ve Already Lost
If you do compete, you’ve already lost, especially when dealing with well-financed competitors who have been at the game for a long time.
The reason is simple. The competitor has already gotten into the mind of your customer.
So what can you do?
Create a new category that you can be first in and let others compete to get in.
How To Create A New Mental Category
Start with an aspect of your customer’s need that’s critically important to them and is currently unfulfilled.
In my business, Double Your Dating, I looked at the market place. I discovered that a lot of relationship books and programs already existed but there were few resources on just dating.
My customers were men who needed to learn how to get the date in the first place so that they could then go on to have a relationship. So I carved off this chunk, maybe 10-20% of the market, and created products and services to cater to a need that was critically important to them that wasn’t being met.
I created a new category: Dating Advice For Men. Since this need wasn’t being met, I quickly became #1 in the category.
Base your new mental category on a key need that is currently unmet, and build out your product to meet it.
Categories Diverge Just Like Species Diverge
Something interesting occurs within categories. The big 800 lb. gorilla in a business category is almost never the one who builds the next category that they should have built and that they should have won the game at.
Let’s look at a few big name examples.
IBM dominated the computer market for decades. They created all kinds of software. It made sense that they should have been #1 in software. But they weren’t. Microsoft was.
Microsoft was able to become #1 in software because they split off that portion and went to work on it. They were a big company that had tens of thousands of dollars in the bank and all kinds of experience with software and even search engines. They should have gone on to be #1 in search engines, but they didn’t. Google did.
A little startup of a couple of young guys created something that actually beat Microsoft. Google won the search engine game. With 100 million or so people using Gmail and everybody on the planet using their search engine, maps, and other tools, Google should have gone on to win the social networking game. But they didn’t. Facebook did.
The list goes on and on.
Big companies lose because instead of creating a new niche and a new business, they try to take the old stuff they used to do and re-label it.
The problem is that the market doesn’t accept this. These big companies were already placed in a mental category. People thought, you’re a software maker, not a hardware maker. You’re a search engine maker, not a social networking maker. So we go with the new thing.
Categories diverge and they emerge just like species emerge and diverge in ecosystems.
If you understand this and you’re willing to create a new category, you can win the game.
Every business category eventually becomes two categories – or more. Computers became laptops and desktops, cars became compact cars, midsize cars, and luxury cars.
Anticipate this process, and split the category yourself to create a category that you can own.
Name Your New Category
To create a category you can own, you have to name it to get into the mind first so that customers will see you as the INVENTOR of it.
You win by creating and promoting the category itself, not just your particular business or product.
It’s better to be first, than it is to be better.
Who was the first search engine? Who was the first energy drink? Who was the first portable MP3 player? Most people would say Google, Red Bull, and iPod, respectively, because they were first in the MIND.
Being first is more memorable than being better. This is an example of human psychology that is very counterintuitive. It’s only something that experts with experience figure out, but it’s something you can use right now to a dramatic advantage, if you use it consciously.
Let’s look at a few more examples:
- Health Foods: Whole Foods Market
- Online Auctions: eBay
- Social Networking: Facebook
- Online Video: YouTube
These particular names, these brands, these companies are so well known they almost represent the entire category in the mind. For the real masters of this game, their brand name has become the name of the category. People start to call the category by the brand name. Examples include Jello-o, Kleenex, or now even Starbucks.
How Are You Positioning Yourself?
What’s the unmet need that you can own in the mind with your coaching? Create your category.
Think about the following questions to help draw them out:
- What is the biggest unmet need that your Prospective Client has – that you could create a unique mental category around?
- What could you name this new category, so you’re considered the creator of it?
- Where could you take an existing category and divide it into 2 or more sub-categories, based on specific needs, and then own one of them?
For a more indepth look into how to use these strategies to immediately build your reputation in your coaching business, click below to watch the Free Training.
In the training you’ll also learn:
- The step-by-step plan to getting started (especially if you’re new to coaching) – even if you’re completely “unknown” and even if you have no list!
- Why coaching is one of the most opportunistic professions in the world to go into and could be for generations to come.
- How to find your perfect clients and instantly build trust with them, so they start coming to you and already know they want to work with you.
- Discover what the #1 Skill of High-Paid Coaches is, and what the “sweet spot” is for pricing – and how it could allow you to help a lot more people and earn an income several times higher than the average coach.
- I’ll show you a proven and very counterintuitive approach to get 5-10x more clients than regular coaches.
- Only long-time coaches can charge a lot, right? Wrong! I’ll show you a simple positioning tactic that you can use to start charging over $200 per hour (or more) right out of the gate with your coaching business.
All of the technical things can be overwhelming. Email software, setting up webinars, and landing page creation can leave you not knowing where to begin. You only actually need a couple simple tools to get started…discover what you need, even if you’re a total tech newbie.