The marketing of your coaching & NLP services isn’t part of the favorite things or core activities of most coaches or NLP Practitioners. Neither, has it been mine. Especially knowing that there are so many coaches and training companies of questionable quality, that say much of the same things you do.
Global NLP Training recently was admitted to the Central Register for Short Vocational Education (CRKBO) in Europe. Admittance into this register is only for educational institutions operating under a quality code and regulations set forth by the Dutch government for tax legislation purposes and European Union guidelines. It is only after successfully passing an audit by and independent body that registration is allowed. This audit was at my own request, as I wanted to be able to not only show but commit externally to abide by guidelines. Admittedly, one of the reasons was a tax break that would benefit both my students as well as my company. But also passing this audit meant that an independent body doing a sanity check on the quality of my company. Meaning, it is not just my opinion, it is also their opinion.
This is a close a company can get to a green light from the Dutch government in some respects. More meaningful than seemingly “independent” institutions, and international federations that require you to spend 1000s of dollars and euros to be allowed in. After first grandfathering themselves and a few initial companies in. But I am talking a training company here! There are no true independent non-profit bodies, or governments checking up on coaches. There is not an independent non-profit bureau testing and auditing them for quality, expertise, trustworthiness and guidelines. Still, after running multiple coaching & coach training businesses since 1997 there is a relevance as to why I am sharing my audit story. The audit was fairly diverse, and sparked the idea of a new way of marketing in coaching.
I have looked at many coaching websites in my life time, and they say the same things. How can you set yourself apart from the questionable, who say nearly the exact same things you do? I have always looked at marketing not being a hard sell, to sell no matter what, to persuade or lock people in unknowingly. Marketing is about providing information, and stepping into someone else’s map of the world. To not sell no matter what, simply because not every student belongs in my course, nor do I fit every student. As a coach I didn’t look at it differently, I wasn’t and I am still not for everyone. Word of mouth & mutually beneficial connections are important to me, so I have nothing to gain with someone being in my course who shouldn’t be there. Neither do you in your coaching organization, especially there! As a thriving coaching practice can only be built through word of mouth.
The audit (to me), seemed to be a lot about transparency, and accuracy in marketing. More importantly I am required to commit to my client through agreements, openness and offering details as to what exactly I will deliver. So now there is the interesting part and the key to a new way of marketing. You put into your legal agreements & terms the commitment that you offer what you say you promise. In fact, you legally commit to it. You offer detailed transparency into everything relevant to the client, by which you show them it is about their best interest. Not just their best interest where it comes to “dreams & goals” promises, but in clarity as to why you are an expert in your field, what complaint procedures are, money back, payment. Most importantly, that every information you put out there through websites, brochures is truthful and accurate. If you are really as good as you say you are and you are not “bull shitting” on your website, you should be willing to sign a contract on that! That’s what can set you apart from those that merely offer promises.
At the very least, it will force you to do a sanity check on your marketing. I have hired coaches and advisors, I wouldn’t be able to run my business without them. When someone gives me marketing babble, if it is not truthful, I feel it. And this person won’t get hired. So take it from one of your potential customers. 🙂