Last week I discussed how so-called business “coaches” use tactics to market their services to position themselves as an authority figure.  In Part 2, I outline the services many offer for their fees.  Again, keep in mind that I do mentor financial advisors for a fee.  I do think most advisors can benefit from having a business coach, but it’s important to make the decision based on careful due diligence and not emotion.

What Do You Get?

At a minimum, coaching services offer a set number of access hours to the coach.  This can be a combination of one-on-one meetings, group meetings, monthly phone calls, emails, etc.  The more private access to the “coach,” the higher the likely cost.

I’ve seen some program charge as high as $45,000 in return for 29 hours of coaching time.  Imagine what he charges if you want to go fishing with him.

Most coaching programs cost between $15,000 and $20,000 per year.  Although it’s easy to assume the higher price program is better, the high pricing tactic is often used by “coaches” to create perceived value.  In the end, something is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it.

So what happens during “coaching” time?

Some “coaches” will tell you the time is for whatever you want it to be, but typically they’ll follow some type of marketing strategy framework, most of which can be found in a book by Alan Dibb called The One Page Marketing Plan:

  • Pick an affluent target market
  • Find a message that resonates with them
  • Deliver the message through an efficient media channel
  • Develop a Lead Capture System
  • Develop a Lead Nurture System
  • Develop a Sales Conversion Strategy
  • Deliver a World Class Experience
  • Increase Lifetime Customer Value
  • Stimulate Referrals

Nothing too earth-shattering, but where most small businesses fall short is not with ideas, but with implementation.  It’s easy to say you’re going to do something.  It’s harder to actually do it.  A good coach will move you toward implementing systems.

Sadly, too many programs focus only on marketing, thus perpetuating the myth that spending on marketing alone will automatically translate into profit.  Rarely do “coaches” provide guidance in areas like results tracking, profitability management, automation, client retention, and succession planning.  Most advisors I know have much larger business problems, the least of which is marketing.

But marketing draws attention, so it gets most, if not all, of the program’s emphasis.

“Spend more to make more.”

“If you don’t have the money for my program, pull it out of your IRA.”

“Put it on the credit card.”

“It’s not spending, it’s investing.  Investing in yourself is far more valuable than investing in the stock market.”

These are words typically said at an FMO meeting.  But “coaches” will also use them as a way to motivate you to buy their services.

The most effective programs not only offer you strategic guidance in all business areas, they also provide a great deal of “done for you” implementation at no extra cost.  This can include things like a co-authored book, spreadsheets, seminar systems, social media funnels, lead magnets, and podcast services.

The least effective will charge you extra for these programs, often at a price greater than the “coach’s” time.  This is can a huge profit maker for “the coach” because it does not require much of his time.  It’s money in the bank.

In part three, I’ll cover what to consider before joining a business coaching system, what to look for in the coach, and how to determine if it’s right for you.