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Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategies 2019 for service-based businesses.

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategies Guide 2019 To Growing Your Service-Based Business.

7-phase methodology to create prolific growth for your service-based business

hack into the psychology of premium clients for coaches consultants and professional service business

Yes, 
I want to attract premium clients

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.


What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing, first coined by Hubspot, is an approach of customer attraction. Instead of promoting your brand, you attract prospects through relevant and resourceful content.

Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing addresses your prospect’s challenges, desires and needs. It turns prospects into long-terms clients through trust, credibility and value journey.

With inbound marketing, everything in your business revolves around who you serve.

why inbound marketing approach for small business

Why inbound marketing strategy as an approach for growing and scaling your business?

​As small business owners, you need to be time and financial savvy.


Not only that, selling services and expertise is difficult.


How can you present something that is invisible or intangible to arouse your prospect's buying desires to work with you?

While digital marketing focus on specific tactics and channels to reach users, inbound marketing is about strategy.

​It is designed to speak to not only the minds, but also the hearts of your market.


Selling services and expertise is a psychological game. The aim of an inbound approach is to lead the psychology of your audience.

With targeted, agile inbound content strategy, you can stand to win even in a competitive niche.

What’s unique about this guide?

A lot of digital and content marketing talks about channel/platform-driven tools and techniques.

This guide emphasize on the psychology of business and marketing.


Even Elon Musk, a man known for pioneering technological breakthroughs, admits humans are underrated.

As Tony Robbins said, “Success is only 20% skill. 80% is psychology.”

And it is the same with business and marketing.

While tactics, technology and the rules of the ecosystem change, human psychology last.

When you grow your business on sound business principles, you are future-proofed. When you grow your business on human psychology, you can be highly-sought after.

On top of that, this guide is for small business owners in the service or expertise-based model.

what is unique about this inbound marketing guide
who is this for?

Who is this for?

This is ideally for service-based entrepreneurs: coaches, consultants, trainers, therapists, professional service businesses and those who are selling their expertise as services.

Paradox of service-based business

Introducing Prolific Growth Method

Define your PURPOSE (Why)

Understand your MARKET (Who)

Know your LANDSCAPE (What)

Unique Methodology (How)

RESONATE with your market

ASCEND your clients to the next level

EXPAND your expertise-based business

Chapter 1: Paradox of Service-Based Business

​Overworked, undervalued?

overwork undervalued

“I should be busy working on projects.”

In the entrepreneurial world, hustle is often lived as a code of honour. At least, when asked “what are you up to these days,” you can justify yourself.

Not only that, you might feel guilty for not working hard enough for your business.

Somehow, as coaches, consultants, trainers or professional services providers, you associate busyness as a sign of good business.

But is that the case?

In reality, I often hear business owners complain they have so much they wanted to achieve, yet so little time available.

This could mean they're feeling overworked and undervalued.

Undervalued because they have been doing a lot of things that don’t move the needle in their business.

Let’s unpack this further.

Discover the #1 business paradigm that can prevent you from growing your service-based business.

When it comes to growing a consulting, coaching or expertise-based business, many people think they need more clients. Then, they think they need to do more marketing, branding, speaking gigs, PR and so forth to get more clients.

Still, even with more marketing, it doesn’t always get you the results you want.

First presented by Andrew Chen, over time, all marketing strategies result in shitty clickthrough rates - the law of shitty clickthroughs.


Over time, the law of diminishing returns kick in regardless of what marketing tactics, channels, or new tricks in the market.

So back to the question, does having more clients help scale your business to the next level?

Imagine one client is worth $2k of profits on average to you (after taking into account all the overheads and costs to get one client).

5 clients would generate $10k profits for you. And if you can have a consistency of 5 clients every month, it is pretty decent income for your business, assuming you are a solopreneur.

Suppose you want to increase your annual profits growth by 30%, which is approximately $156k. Which means, for every month, you need to have about 7 clients for this to work out.

Well, you might think to yourself that having 2 more clients per month shouldn’t be a problem. As we all know, we only have 24 hours per day. There is only so much we can do, given our energy, capability and capacity.

In fact, it reaches a point where having more clients become a loss for your business where you actually earn less because you maxed out.


Even having ONE more client can eat a lot into your peak performance and your ability to deliver. This is where you reach your glass ceiling and any efforts to do more create a downward spiral.

Here’s how it looks like.

small business clients paradox

So now with less clients, does it mean you have more time to deliver better service? Not necessary, if you are still serving from a linear mentality, because you’ll be busy fighting fires in the business.

Is there a way to create an upward spiral instead?

Yes, there is, which require a paradigm shift in the way you treat your business.

What Jeff Bezos did to fuel incredible growth for Amazon?

The Flywheel model, first popularized by Jim Collins, is a core framework that took Amazon from its beginnings to where it is today.

What Jeff Bezos did for Amazon is that he facilitated a self-reinforcing feedback loop that creates an ecosystem of growth.

This is how it looks like.

amazon growth flywheel

By improving each elements in their flywheel, it adds to the spin of the flywheel. This increases their momentum.

By bringing more selection onto their platform, it creates a better customer experience. With improved customer experience, it attract higher traffic, which then generates more customers.

In short, more customers, more selection, better customer experience. Each of these feed into the rest of the flywheel of growth.

With that, Amazon is able to provide lower cost infrastructure and prices. These improve the whole ecosystem.

Other successful businesses like Airbnb, Alibaba and Grab all have a similar growth flywheel.

Is growth only about the business model?

Many startup platforms failed to grow beyond their initial stages, even by modelling the business model of those successful companies.

Here’s the key.

For the flywheel to produce a virtuous cycle, every change must create a better experience for your clients and stakeholders.

Nevertheless, this illusion is so common in the entrepreneurial world.

As entrepreneurs, we get distracted by all sorts of shiny objects in the marketplace.

I’ve seen startups suffered from lacklustre performance, whenever they try to grow too fast too much. Aggressive growth in one area of business creates imbalance.


You can learn a lot from Uber’s crisis, an example of a great initial flywheel that turns cancerous.

On the other extreme end, I’ve also seen businesses that failed by dabbling almost anything that comes along.

Just like nature and human systems, for your business to really thrive in this complex landscape, it needs to be adaptive and robust. This is possible by taking into account interactions of multiple conducive conditions in a particular order with intentional actions


Results are a byproduct of these conditions in place (emergence), not a direct cause-and-effect of ONE or TWO factors only.

Simply by having more clients or doing more marketing, branding or PR activities isn’t going to cut it.

A business based on a nuanced and comprehensive approach is what is going to last because humans are complex.

Do you know what premium clients really want?

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.

Chapter 2: How to create prolific growth in your consulting, coaching or expertise-based business (psst… it is not about your expertise)?

In the business world, a lot of people have a funnel thinking.

linear funnel thinking

The downside to a funnel thinking is this - what happens after getting clients at the bottom of the funnel?

As most business lack a path of continuity for their clients, efforts spent on getting new clients get fizzled out at the bottom of the funnel.

There isn’t much of a feedback loop back into the top of the funnel, unlike a flywheel.

That’s why many businesses keep acquiring new customers in order to sustain.

And this can be quite expensive, in terms of time and money!

Consider the increasing costs you have to pump in again and again to promote, to market and to reach out to cold new audiences.

Moreover, it takes a longer journey to move people who have never heard of you (cold) to the point where they are ready to engage with you (hot).

This linear funnel thinking in business is too counterproductive for growth to happen.

How can you turn this around?

How can your business thrive in a virtuous cycle of a flywheel?

How can you introduce your raving clients to influence and attract new clients in the market?

Business models will continue to fail until they take care of this.

There are dynamic elements and moving components to take care of, in order for any business to sustain and grow.

No business can sustain without harmonizing these 5 critical and interconnected business components, as presented in details by the book Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model by Randy Komisar and John Mullins.

They are:

1

Revenue Model

What are you offering to people in your market such that they pay you or engage your company’s services? 

2

Gross Margin Model

How much money will you keep from each sale after deducting the direct costs of a sale?

3

Working Capital Model

What is your cash flow like? How much is your cash on hand to keep your business moving?

4

Operating Model

What it costs you to keep your business running on a daily basis, no matter how many sales you make. Also known as your “burn rate.”

5

Investment Model

How are you going to pay for everything until your business can pay for itself? What is your source of financing the business during the starting phase?

Even though you might be in the business not solely for the profits, money is still the lifeblood of any business to sustain, grow and make an impact.

Working on these 5 elements enable you to know which areas to change, what to keep and what to eliminate, such that they’ll move the needle in your business.

Therefore, think of these 5 components as your levers to optimize your business for growth.

1

Revenue Model

  • How can you raise your value such that you can raise the average value order for each sale?
  • How can you increase the frequency of purchase? 
  • How can you increase the number of clients without breaking your capacity to deliver extraordinary experience?

2

Gross Margin Model

  • How can you increase your gross margin by raising your fees, lowering your cost of sale or both?
  • What pricing strategy can you implement such that the pricing decision is value-based (a paradigm shift to look at value), not cost-driven, according to the value your clients perceives, or can be led to perceive - in what you sell?

3

Working Capital Model

  • How can you shorten the gap between the upfront cost you are tied up with suppliers, inventory, partners, licensing, employees and contractors and the time your clients pay you for your services?

4

Operating Model

  • What aspects of operating costs can you reduce or be made redundant?

5

Investment Model

  • How can you rely on less capital or later capital and to be as lean as possible?
  • What are your viable sources or options of financing your business such that it also serve as your marketing, branding or PR tool (maximize your efforts), for example, crowdfunding?

These 5 components are interconnected. Changing one of them can influence the rest.

For example, by making a certain operating cost redundant, you can also increase your gross margin while requiring less investment. Or by making your offer compelling in the minds of your clients, you can raise your value, hence the fees. This can also enable you to take in pre-order sales even before the product is available, which then improves your cash flow.

In fact, just increasing the levers across your revenue model can up your revenue exponentially.

For an organizational consultant who has 10 clients, with an average order value of $4,500 per project, frequency of 1 project per year from each client, his total annual revenue would then be $45k. If he increases each of these levers by 30%, he would increase his annual revenue by 220%!

Ultimately, what business owners are trying to gain out of their business is time. We all want to buy more time to focus on what truly matters. Don’t you agree?

While the 5 components serve as your “metric” for growth, what is the underlying process that fuels growth for your consulting, coaching or expertise-based business?

Your expertise not needed

Value is what fuels exponential growth in any business.

So what is value creation then?

A seemingly common buzzword that is so little understood.

To illustrate value, I like to highlight this paragraph from Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing, by Harry Beckwith.

“Most companies in expert services - such as lawyers, doctors, and accountants - think that their clients are buying expertise. But most prospects for these complex services cannot evaluate expertise; they cannot tell a really good tax return, a clever motion, or a perceptive diagnosis. But they can tell if the relationship is good…

...In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise - because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead, you are selling a relationship.”

Your expertise is expected.

It is like a minimum requirement.

That alone is not what makes you the go-to choice.

There are probably hundreds of experts who have similar qualifications and experiences as you are, or if not, more capable than you.

Again, it all depends on the type of markets you are in and their level of sophistication (which I will cover in chapter 4). If you are targeting some government bodies, associations or practicing a specialized field, certain recognised credential or trade license is needed.

At the same time, what distinguishes you from the rest is how you position yourself with regards to what your prospects value.

small-business-owners-singapore

Like most business in the expertise-based model, I used to fall into this ‘curse of knowledge’ trap by trying to sell my expertise.

It hit me one day when a client told me why he chose me.

Not my expertise. Marketing and branding terms don’t speak to him.

He buys fresh perspectives unique from his so that I can help unearth hidden opportunities.

That day onwards, it got me to rethink my business.

Similarly, why people would pay over $25k to work with top strategic coaches and consultants like Jay Abraham?


Clients aren’t buying his coaching or consulting services.

People are paying him that kind of fees because he understands:

  • How to stand out - out appeal, out impress and out excite investors over and above the maddening crowds of fund seekers vying for their money.
  • What the impact points, nuances and leverage elements are that could either exponentiate certain outcomes or could potentially cripple things.
  • How to masterfully communicates both tangible and intangible value of a company’s services and offering to avoid being negatively impacted and to positively position themselves towards a bigger outcome, where most companies failed.

Value is what people want but don’t have and to get rid of what they have but don’t want.

For someone who has difficulty following through, they are buying accountability and confidence.

For someone who is looking for leverage with the right people, he or she is buying exclusive access to high network.

For someone who has been suffering from pains in their health, he or she is buying a degree of control over their well-being.

The challenge is, most entrepreneurs aren’t sure what their audiences or market value. They fall in love with their products, ideas, business and expertise more than their clients/prospects.

And this is exactly where the Prolific Growth Method begins… It is like preparing the soil for the seeds to grow.

The value you deliver gets clearer as you go through the respective chapters.

prolific growth method
“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Peter Drucker


Do you know what premium clients really want?

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.

      Chapter 3: Who cares about your business?    

Define your purpose (Why)

purpose

At the heart of it all, your business is not only about you.

It doesn’t begin with advertising, promotion, putting up a website, branding or even marketing.

It begins with understanding why you are in it. Most importantly, understanding your clients.

Reason being, your business is GREATER than you.

The heart of the Prolific Growth Method is what builds your strong foundation. Without a strong core, whatever you create or venture in your business will collapse. Without a strong foundation, you get distracted by any shiny objects that come along.

That’s why everyday, you ignore a lot of marketing messages out there. Most of them come from businesses without a strong foundation.

Defining your business purpose keeps you going when the tough gets going. It is also attractive to your clients, partners and community when you communicate those values to them.

Defining your core motivation and purpose help achieve a couple of things. It informs your business decisions; whether to work with someone or not, whether to venture into a certain direction or not. Do these decisions align with the values of why you are in this business?

Your purpose doesn’t have to be some grand “change the world” reason.

You can look at understanding the problems or bottlenecks in the context of your audience’s world that you can address.

At the heart of it, you are able to answer “so what?”

Take for example, SnackNation, a healthy office snack delivery Inc. 5,000 company. Their reason in the business is to promote more than just healthy conscious snacks in offices. They are in the business of fostering healthy, highly-engaged, fun and an awesome workplace culture by uniting mankind and nutrition. It all started when Sean Kelly, the co-founder, noticed how unhealthy snack vending machines are compromising people’s health. He believes nutrition plays key pillar in one’s health, performance and happiness, at work and in life.

Building a business greater than you

There are three ways to go about this exercise - simple model, structured process or a hybrid of both.

Simple model

Some questions for your introspection, not necessarily in order of importance. And you do not have to answer all of them. Go with your flow.

1

How it begins?

What motivates and inspires you to start this business? Is there a story behind? What is the triggering event that prompted you to make that decision?

2

What fuels fulfilment?

Why did you decide to offer your core services? What burning desires or need does it fulfil?

3

What impact are you creating?

How is your services making the world a better place? What is the greater impact in what you are doing or planning to do?

Structured process

How to identify challenges, what people want and the gaps?

Earlier on, we touch on an overview of what value is and is not: delivering what people want but don’t yet have, while addressing what people have but don’t want.

Looking at the people you are currently working with, who are coming to you for certain needs or you plan to reach out to in your business, list down their wants, challenges and the gaps. You can go in any order that fits you. It is best to keep this in a brainstorming mode.

  • What do people want but don’t yet have?
  • What do people have but don’t want?
  • What are the possible gaps?

I have provide a visual map and an example as follows.

identifying challenges and what people want for your prospects

If you have a few different contexts of work you are delivering or offering in your business, it is best to have separate sheets for each.

Identifying your zone of value creation

A lot of people are stuck when it comes to identifying ‘what is it’ that they bring to the table.

So here’s a list you can refer to.

Having identified some possible gaps above, next, circle the top 3 terms that best describe what you are bringing to the table. You can mix and match or create your own list.

  • Accuracy and precision
  • Character and unique voice
  • Congruent attitude
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Energy and high impact
  • Influence
  • Follow-through ideas
  • Deep insights
  • Focused and effective actions
  • Robust network
  • Complete solutions
  • High performing leadership
  • Create excitement that motivates people
  • Resourcefulness
  • Deep awareness
  • Ability to work with uncertainty and manage the risks that come along
  • Nurturing sense of purpose and direction
  • Raise engagement and participation
  • Vitality and well-being

  • Thought-leadership
  • Strengthening reputation
  • Persuasive communication
  • Healthy and sustainable relationship
  • Breakthrough ideas
  • Compelling vision
  • Over delivering results
  • Skilful negotiation
  • Transforming difficult people
  • Lean and effective processes or systems
  • Collaborative community building
  • Synergy in teams
  • Developing attractive style
  • Bringing ecology
  • Instilling critical thinking
  • Leverage
  • Understanding
  • Flexibility and mobility
  • Independence
  • Anti-fragility

Using the example of Facebook advertising, let’s say you have distilled to these 3 relevant ones:

  • Accuracy and precision
  • Lean and effective process
  • Complete solutions

Up, down, in, out evaluation process

Now having identify the gaps and some possible matches of the value you bring to the table, you can use this up, down, in, out method to further enrich, expand and deepen your purpose and contribution in this business.

Up and down is basically to explore and take note of any details that come to you (Down) about something, while looking at the bigger picture (Up).

In and out is basically to take into account your own values, personality and perspectives about something while understanding the external factors involved (more will be cover in chapter 5 - Know your landscape )

When using this as a lens, hold in mind on what could be missing or overlooked in the current situation of the context that you can address or include?

  • UP: Concepts, abstract ideas, principles, values, worldviews, themes, patterns
  • DOWN: specifics, actions, time, numbers, environment, context, situation, people involved
  • IN: Your own perspective and take on things, experiences, insights, opinions, personality, style, personal challenges, personal aspirations, values and beliefs
  • OUT: competitors, industry trends, policies, market conditions, laws and regulation, unspoken rules of societal norms, global phenomenon.
in out up down example

Distilling the essence

Having mapped out all these wonderful insights and discovery about your business, let’s attempt to distill the essence of what your business is about.

Look through what you have so far, what is ONE thing you resonate strongly with? It can come from any combinations of what you have discovered so far. What is a theme or pattern that stood out for you?

Give a scale between 1 to 10, from 1 (weakest) to 10 (strongest), how much do you resonate with it?

Using the example as a reference, you might find that ultimately, it is about being resourceful as an entrepreneur that matters. You might have a personal history why it sucks to be left helpless, and hence, resourcefulness is important to you. Thus, in your business of helping others get resourceful in Facebook advertising, how you add value can come in forms of:

  • Precise targeting methods
  • Equipping your audience with a lean and effective process which they can go about it themselves
  • Having complete suite of solutions to improve conversion and ad spent

Remember, this whole process is iterative - you can revisit this any point in time to refine it, add your thoughts or to streamline your ideas.

These methods can be used in any parts of your business, including the upcoming chapters.


Do you know what premium clients really want?

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.

Chapter 4: Don’t start your digital and content marketing until you realize this.

Understand your market (Who)

who do you serve in your market

​You can’t make anything work if you aren’t clear who you are serving.

As a result, most businesses are in “hopeful” marketing and they struggled to see improvements.

They are “hoping” to make marketing work with that one tactic, method or secret that has worked for others. Or, by trying different things, they hope that one will work.

What makes it worse is that they only do marketing as and when they feel like it.

Even if they have a sense of who they are targeting, it is often too broad a spectrum to be effective. When you try to speak to everyone, you speak to nobody.

Think of the last time when a piece of email or a landing page copy speaks deeply to you. You felt as if it is talking personally to you. You felt drawn into it and led by it.

That’s the kind of resonance you want to create in your business development and marketing efforts.

The greatest obstacle many entrepreneurs faced is that they see marketing and sales as an independent solution. They treat it as disconnected from their people. They think it like a black box that does the magic for them.

laser-focused-value

Is your marketing a ‘meh’ or a ‘WOW’?

Today, people are getting more and more sceptical.

They are much more well-versed than before. What seems to be unheard of 3 months ago may have already been overused on the internet now.

Which means, a first-mover advantage is no longer an effective advantage. You need a nuanced and targeted approach to marketing and presenting your case.

Whenever you put something out, it is either a ‘meh’ or a ‘wow.’

An in-between is a sign that they are not fully convinced, somewhere, somehow. There are still remnants of scepticism left.

Rather than letting this truth hurts you, you can take it as a valuable feedback for refining your marketing.

A lot of digital and content marketing experts talked about the surface value of ‘knowing your customer avatar.’ Only a few go into the depths of what it truly means to empathise with your audience.


As Seth Godin shared in his book, All Marketers are Liars, consumer's worldviews & frames got there before you did. What that means is we are all defined by our personal and unique lens, values, beliefs, stories and emotions. Different people, unique worldviews.

You can't fight against other people's worldviews, especially your prospects and clients. Neither is changing them a wise choice, it is too expensive and counterproductive.

What you can do though, is to create a wide enough 'frame' that despite the differences, people can still agree with. Only then you can lead them into their own transformational journey.

That's why an inbound marketing approach is so powerful. By using elements of storytelling, you engage both the mind and the heart.

By suggesting a more ecological worldview, they have much wiser options to go where they want to go. Then, they wouldn't need to fight against themselves.

In order to design a wiser and wider 'frame,' there are two vital ingredients to understand about your prospects.

First one is your target audience’s level of awareness.

your prospects level of awareness chart

It’s essential because it relates to how your audience is searching on the internet such as Google.

Imagine you have a child who is weak in English.

At the problem aware level, you are most likely to start with generic terms such as “how to improve English." From there, you see what comes up - resources, tips or strategies wise.

As you did more research for your child, you start to learn to get a little more specific. This is where you begin to specify and narrow down the problem, such as “how to improve English for primary school students.”

Then you realized that isn’t all. There are different areas where your child might be weak at. If it is his grammar, you would search for “how can primary school students improve their English grammar” and see what you can find.

As you discover more options, you realize different methods, systems and teaching techniques.

This is where you have upgraded to become solutions aware.

At this level, you are comparing the different types of solutions available. Your search might revolve around keyword phrases such as “techniques of teaching grammar for primary school child” or “steps to improve sentence structure.”

One day, you overheard a parent recommending this method called communicative language teaching. So you go and Google it. This is where you are being product aware. You’ve identified a particular system among all other methods. You've also found good reviews.

At this level, your search terms could be “pros and cons of communicative language teaching,” as you want to see how best this method can help your child.

Eventually, you found a local centre that delivers this and you signed up for their trial session. You love the centre’s capability and teaching approach. This is where you are at the most aware level of the spectrum.

The bottom of the spectrum is where there are most numbers of potential target audience. It is also the level where they are least engaged, aka cold audience. Those who are completely unaware wouldn’t care. It is also more costly to market to this group of people.

Those near the bottom of awareness level tends to take a longer journey to become most aware to your brand.

Whereas people who are already most aware are highly-engaged and ready to buy, even though they consist of a small segment of audience.

The BIGGEST mistake a lot of coaches and consultants made is they try to attract audience at the problem aware level with a solutions aware and above messaging. These kind of messaging only go over their head!

Vice versa is also true. They speak to a sophisticated market with an entry level marketing message and claims.

There is a mismatch in the level of awareness they are targeting and they wonder why there isn’t a good response.

Another aspect to their awareness level is their level of sophistication.

Given the above scenario, if you are a tuition centre targeting parents who have tried different approaches and not seeing much improvements with their child, generic terms like “how to improve English in a short time” might not appeal to them.

They are probably exposed to these types of claims and benefits that other tuition centres are making.

If you continue to speak to them using those terms, they are going to be like ‘meh’ or ‘yah right!’

So how do you cut through the noise?

Specificity.

Or at least, target your message to who you are speaking to without over-promising.

Be client or prospect-focused more than subject-matter focused.

Here’s an example of an article targeted to students preparing for their PSLE English.

level of sophistication case study

This article addresses a specific stressful situation in the segment of PSLE English. Rather than vague promises like “in a short time,” this article realistically framed the promise to be in “...50 minutes.”


In your prospects’ minds, they are constantly assessing whether a message is:


  • Relevant
  • Valuable
  • Believable


By understanding your market’s level of sophistication, you can then find a whole new angle, hook or perspective to articulate your message without being treated as a ‘meh’ or fluff in your prospects’ mind.


Now let’s move on to the next segment on understanding the landscape in your field or niche.


Eliciting subconscious triggers

People are usually unaware of their subconscious triggers. While many of us are aware of what’s most obvious, it is the not-so-obvious patterns that are driving us to act the way we do. This exercise intends to help you uncover the different layers of your target audience’s criteria. Look out for the unspoken cues such as hesitation, pauses and uncertainty. Prompt them to share with you more using neutral phrases like, “tell me more about it…”

1

Uncovering the obvious

What got you to try something new in the area of [context of your industry]?

2

Uncovering 2nd layer criteria and values

What would make you stop pursuing that new thing, even if you had been given what you are looking for in question 1?

3

Uncovering 3rd layer criteria and values

What would get you to restart your journey on this new thing, even if you have stopped for the reasons you have stated in question 2?

4

Uncovering the root criteria and values

What would make you stop pursuing this thing once and for all?

hierarchy of values in your prospects and clients

Going through this exercise will give you deep insights on what your target audience’s worldviews are. These deep triggers can’t be easily found or understood from the internet when you do your regular market research. This also explains what your prospects wouldn’t buy in, even if your services sound and look good to them. As a result, you are able to speak to the heart on what matters most for them.


Do you know what premium clients really want?

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.

      Chapter 5: How to understand your landscape and position your business to rise above the crowd?      

Know your landscape (What)

understand your landscape and competitors

Most entrepreneurs tend to follow the crowd. They run their business based on whatever they’ve spotted in the industry. They saw what seems to be a good idea that their competitor is doing. Then they start doing the same. Even though it may not be the optimal way, they still do it because that’s all they know.

Not only will you not enjoy the benefits like your competition, you position yourself as a commodity.

Your market don't exist in this world by themselves. They aren’t the only group of people on this planet.

We all live in an interconnected web of different cultures, background, environment, location, policies and competitive landscape. These forces are shaping our experiences, worldviews and perception. Knowing your landscape gives you a bigger picture on what's influencing your prospect.

Understanding your landscape of competition gives you the ability to:

  • Know what is influencing your target audience and hence understand their level of sophistication.
  • Know the markets to go into and what to avoid. For instance, if you research your niche and nobody is mentioning it at all on the internet, then it is a market you would want to reconsider. Either people aren’t ready for it or not heard of it at all. Going into such markets would be costly. You are dealing with people who are not even aware of it. If there are people advertising or bidding for the keywords in the market, whether on Google, Amazon and/or Facebook, that's a profitable market to consider or pivot towards.
  • Refine your positioning. Becoming better than your competition is a commodity game. Aim to be a new reference or paradigm-shift. That way, your clients or prospects can’t compare you with your competition as a commodity. Hence, your clients can’t bargain as there isn't a same level player to compare with. For example, in the health and peak performance space, Wim Hof Method isn’t a better version of yoga or meditation practice. Even though his method is an integrated version of traditional practices, he is still highly sought after. He ‘framed’ his methodology (which is going to come in the next chapter) as a new reference or paradigm-shift in the market. He backed this with his extraordinary feats and helping others achieve the same. Rather than trying to be a better version, be purposefully different. By looking at your landscape, you can apply a long-term foresight and figure out what change is coming. That way, you can position yourself on a whole new level.

Know your landscape

Look at your top 3 - 5 direct competitors and take note of the following areas:

1

Promise and claims

What is their main marketing promise and claims they are making?

2

Benefits and features

What are the features and their benefits in the services they are offering?

3

Unique selling proposition

What is the unique selling proposition? What is their unfair advantage?

4

Pricing

What is their pricing and terms?

5

Market perception

Are there any reviews? If yes, what are people saying about them?

6

Risk reversal

What is their risk reversal mechanism, for example, 30 days of free trial?

7

Bonuses

What bonuses are they packaging or bundling with their main offer?

The purpose of this exercise is to avoid doing what your competition is already doing. What works for them may do you harm. The only way to know what works for you is to validate your assumptions.

Competitors can come in forms of a bigger force or an elephant in the room

What trends do you notice in the landscape? What seems to be disrupting the industry? What’s the common “enemy” here that is getting in the way of your clients fulfilling their outcomes? This is where you go a layer deeper into the discovery process.

Let's use yoga industry as an example. Let's suppose you are in the business of helping yoga studio owners in their business development and marketing.

Yoga industry is getting crowded and competitive with many similar facilities in the region.

With the wide availability of wellness apps, events and co-working spaces promoting awareness in this area, yoga practitioners are having way more options. These add distractions for people wanting to practice true yoga.

Students usually go around trying different classes. Retaining practitioners can be a challenge.

Moreover, yoga studios also find themselves needing to differentiate on competitive pricing and attractive class packages.

There are people who find the yoga scene intimidating. Their impression of yoga is seeing themselves getting overstretched or pressured to be flexible. This can be an unspoken barrier to entry.

Besides the health benefits, people also want to connect. They want to belong to a like-minded community of practitioners. However, this is lacking in many studios. People usually come, do their thing and rush off. This leaves people less chance of interacting or getting to know one another in class.

A case study...


Mind Transformations, the longest running NLP training company in Asia, has grown significantly since 1997, helping over thousands of professionals, leaders, CEOs, managers and entrepreneurs to actualize a greater potential in their personal growth that leads to a career, business, relationship, wellness and lifestyle transformation.

Their clients come from different walks of life - industries, age groups, countries and background.


Despite the differences and having their programs in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and recently in Mauritius, what’s common among their audience profile are:

  • They are well-travelled and experienced. They have been through different programs. They are sophisticated in their level of thinking. They do not settle for less.
  • They arrived at a plateau - what used to work well for them isn’t working as great anymore. They are working to create a breakthrough to the next level in their life. They want a sustainable or ecological solution, not fixes, to their personal and professional development.
  • They are in a position of great influence, leadership and impact with the decisions they make in their role and the values they want to impart to others.

In short, their clients are looking for deep change in themselves. They want mastery in whatever they are pursuing.

They want sustainable results. They want fulfilment in their work, life, relationship and financial health.

The REAL competition in their market is a global trend. It is the phenomenon of ‘no time,’ the lack of energy and the distractions from instant gratification.

These are the forces that interfere their clients in performing and being at their best. Thus, they design their coaching and training program to address these common enemies.


Understanding the landscape in your field of business also help you uncover untapped opportunities.


B1G1, a social enterprise and non-profit organization, sets to redefine the act of giving and making an impact to the world.

“What would happen if we all gave back just by doing the things we do every day?”

This paradigm shift changes the way businesses can make an impact.


Unlike conventional fundraising practice, B1G1 do not chase after big corporations.

They focus on helping small- and medium-sized businesses achieve more social impact. This is possible by embedding giving activities into everyday business operations and transactions. This also creates unique giving stories through the process.

On top of that, the barriers to giving is lowered.

SMEs around the world can choose from the list of their carefully selected high-impact projects that resonate with their mission and purpose. From there, they can decide the business transaction that they want to impact lives for as little as just one cent.

SMEs can also position themselves in a different light from the typical CSR of big corporations. They can adopt giving as an integrated part of their business, not separate.

This approach helps create stories of social connection, purpose, meaning that brings their employees and customers closer by utilising this platform as tools of engagement.

Businesses can also track and share stories of their impact as a result of giving. It is based on joy rather than guilt.

Unlike traditional giving programs which use a portion of your donation for administration fees, B1G1 pass 100% of your giving to the nominated projects when you give through B1G1. The operating costs are funded by their membership program.

By creating world-wide access, the giving and the impact happens 24/7, eliminating the high budget fundraising campaign held on a seasonal basis.

The impact?

Till date, they have about over 2,100 members that created 123,155,208 giving impacts around the world during this 10 years.


In summary, competition can be in a form of a universal problem plaguing many people. Or, it can come from areas which most people have been ignoring.


Do you know what premium clients really want?

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.

Chapter 6: What is your irresistible methodology that delivers?      

Unique framework (How)

what is your unfair advantage unique methodology and framework

​Most coaches and consultants try to sell their methodology and expertise by convincing their clients.

The problem is, the more you try to convince someone on something, the less convincing it sounds or seems.

After all, people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.

How can you present your offer such that they are the ones who convince themselves?

A unique framework or methodology positions you to communicate preeminence in your field.

A unique framework helps communicate to your market what the buying criteria should be in your industry. When you position yourself as the only one that fulfils or over delivers those criteria, you're seen as the definitive expert.

An irresistible methodology does three things:

  • It PREFRAMES your prospects on what to expect, what it is for, who it is for and what not.
  • It REFRAMES limiting perceptions, concerns, worldviews and objections that your prospects have with regards to your niche, based on their level of sophistication.
  • It DEFRAMES the position on what everyone is thinking, feeling, seeing and doing to put you in the position of differentiated preeminence.

It’s not about the methodology you are trained at.

I know for coaches and consultants, you are trained in a certain school of thought, system and model.

This unique methodology I’m referring to here isn’t so much about those coaching or consulting model.

Your unique methodology is a tighter frame built around your market - who you are serving.

Within that overarching framework, you can use whatever coaching and consulting model on the backend to deliver your services.

Your unique framework is value-benefit-driven, backed by the features of your services.

Before you jump in, let’s look at what makes an extraordinary and unique framework for your business.

  • What’s your structure or process and accountability system like to deliver your value?
  • What gaps in the market or challenges are you addressing in your business for your target audience?
  • What is your ascension path like for your clients to upgrade themselves through you?
  • What are the time, human and financial resources needed to deliver?
  • What are your deliverables?
  • Where are your bottlenecks and leverage points for growth and scaling your business?

When Ryan Levesque, Founder of a $10M+ brand, and Inc. 500 Company behind a #1 National Best-Selling Book - ASK Method, first started his coaching ELITE Mastermind, although he already developed the ASK Method that helps many entrepreneurs gained incredible results, he didn’t really have a framework or methodology for his coaching component.

The problems that arise in the initial years of his coaching program are:

  • Inconsistency and accountability issues: There were chaos as to how he is going deliver consistent results for his students. Moreover, every session is bespoke. That means he has to respond to student’s business challenges from so many angles. That make it hard for him to manage. It lack focus. Not only that, there isn't a clear path for students to ascend their progress to the next level.
  • It depended upon him to show up: Since he has been ‘anchored’ as the spokesperson for the program, he had to show up for the weekly sessions. This is taking too much time and energy away from him to grow the company. There wasn’t a leverage as he was capped at about 40 members at one time.
  • Growth potential is capped: Since it all depended upon him as the coach, his income was capped, keeping him in this downward spiral of overworking, costing him time and money and being undervalued.

Eventually, he decided to BREAK what he had created. He shut down the ELITE Mastermind program. After which, he rebuild his new coaching program at a whole new level. It is now known as the ASK Method Coaching. It is built around a framework rather than on him.

What this does is that he is then able to put in place accountability, a martial arts style progression system and high-level mastermind community. Most importantly, a scalable model where he can train other coaches to deliver.

scalable coaching methodology case study

Having a scalable framework empowers him to grow his business.

growth flywheel case study coaching business

Results?

He shattered his growth record from $1m capped to $4.5m without a glass ceiling, just from this piece of his company.

A unique framework or methodology is not only for your products or services. It can help ‘frame’ your audience’s perception when it comes to presenting your ideas or message.

An example of this is the Snacknation’s 2019 Complete Guide to Employee Engagement.

9 pillars of employee engagement 2019

In the guide, they used 9 different yet interlinked pillars to define what make up a thriving employee engagement.

They breakdown a complex subject like employee engagement into bite size pieces. This helps their corporate audience to relate with, not overwhelm them.

What’s intelligent about that is they created a flow of inbound marketing presence. I will dissect this as a case study in the next chapter.


Articulating benefits

Before designing your unique methodology, it is essential to start listing out the benefits of your services.

A methodology driven by benefits converts. A methodology based on features makes people hesitate.

A feature of your service is the mechanics. It does not make much sense to your audience except you. It is the tech speak, so to speak.

A lot of experts’ methodology are rooted in features rather than benefits.

For example, if you’re teaching people how to manage their stress through a meditation and deep release technique, a feature speak would sound like this, “it helps you regulate your autonomic nervous system.”

For many people who aren’t versed in these kinds of stuff, they would be asking, ‘so what?’

How can you help them see the mental, physical and emotional benefits with this?

There are two levels of benefits you can articulate with each feature

1

Functional benefit

To articulate the functional benefit: What is a direct positive effect of this?

E.g, this technique enables you to be relax and be calm whenever you need it and wherever you go, within a short time.

2

3-D benefit

To articulate the 3-D benefit: How does this plays out in the life of the audience? Paint the picture as vividly as possible. What positive changes or transformation will they experience? What would that make them feel as a result?

E.g, with this technique, it gives you a peace of mind that you are in control of yourself, no matter how the situation turns out to be. When your body is able to relieve itself from unwanted tension and find its way back to balance, not only you can eat well, you can also sleep well. That’s not all! Those who have been practicing this for a while also reported that they can think clearer and function at their best, with less stress and strain. Staying refresh comes naturally without relying on stimulants to keep yourself awake. When you are in a flow, you find yourself being at the right place, at the right time and with the right people more and more often.

A unique methodology driven by dimensionalized benefits, backed by features is much more compelling. It has a higher chance of attracting the right people, especially premium clients.


Do you know what premium clients really want?

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.

      Chapter 7: How Snacknation crush it with inbound content marketing strategy?      

RESONATE with your market

how to resonate and attract premium clients

When Emil Shour, content marketing manager of Snacknation initially started, they were producing ‘meh’ content like many other businesses.

Subsequently, he realized that if he needs to increase the number of backlinks to their site (which was his main #1 priority at that time), he has to stop producing mediocre content.

Fast forward, he managed to generate 41,992 Pageviews, a #1 Ranking and $100k In Monthly Recurring Revenue when he launch their epic article on 121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas Your Team Will Love.

Here’s a complete breakdown on the process of how he did it.


​Even though they are a product-as-a-service company, there are a few keys worth learning from. Their inbound content marketing strategy can be applied to your expertise-based businesses.

Wait a minute…

What is their business again?

They are a healthy snack delivery service that makes healthy snacking fun, life more productive, and workplaces awesome.

snacknation products as a service

So what has their business got to do with employee engagement and wellness?

Everything!

Shouldn’t they be talking about their products, such as what’s special about their healthy snack box?

In fact, that approach and attitude is why most businesses remain as a commodity.

Their open secret to growth?

They are well-focused on their audience.

At the time when they started out, they noticed there are already a lot of similar players in the B2C space.

Not only is B2C difficult to dominate due to competition, there is also high churn rate. Consumers are more fickle and difficult to retain than an organization.

Thus, they decided to start out in the B2B space and focus on strengthening their footing there.

Since their target audience are organizations, their content marketing strategy are on topics relevant and useful to them. They focus on employee engagement, employee retention, creating an awesome office, creating a great career experience, and personal growth inside the work space.

Inbound marketing, when done well, is to get the right people to RAISE THEIR HANDS to what you have to offer.

​They created various tools and resourceful guides. Each targeted for different roles in an organization that they can rely on for their career.

Such as their office procedure templates for office managers or employee recognition thoughtful ideas for HR managers.

​A customer-centric approach also enables them to refine their business model and strategy.

Online marketing funnels is popular with B2C business. For B2B companies like Snacknation, their main customer acquisition strategy is a hybrid of inbound marketing channel plus inside sales team

Up to this point, you might be thinking, which topic should I focus on as my primary target?

Let's look at why Snacknation would focus on employee engagement.

The biggest challenge occupying the mind of an organization is employee engagement.

A study by UK-based Cascade HR has ranked the Top 12 challenges facing HR in 2018. And here are the top two:

  • Employee Engagement (41%)
  • Retention (35%)

​That’s why Snacknation invested time, money and efforts in creating epic ultimate guides such as The 2019 Clear & Complete Guide to Employee Engagement.

Well, you might ask, who will read such a long article?

Here are some insights I’ve learned from Snacknation as well as businesses such as Tortuga Backpacks who utilise in-depth content strategy.

1

Your users and search engines will love you more with ONE SOLID content

From a Search Experience Optimization (SEO) perspective, it has a lot of advantages. A well-crafted in-depth content enhance the key page metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, shareability and backlinks.

Yes, people may not be able to consume everything in one setting.

They are going to come back again and again, checking out different sections of such content.

What this does is that they are going to remember you better. You are then seen as subject-matter expert MORE than anyone else, provided you did a great job at it.

Epic content like this also gets updated on an ongoing basis. There will be newer or expanded versions added from time to time.

From search engine’s perspective and user’s benefits, it means fresh evergreen content, which means better rankings!

Consolidating your BEST STUFF into ONE SOLID ULTIMATE piece gives you leverage. It is more effective and productive than spreading yourself thin with many pieces of weak content.

You can always repurpose different versions of this ultimate content. And you can distribute them on social media channels, driving traffic back to this ONE piece!

2

Be customer-resource driven rather than content centric

What’s common among these brands is that they moved away from creating content for marketing.

Instead, they create resources. Resources are what keep them coming back. When you design resourceful content, they get shared, promoted and linked back to.

Their resources address what their customers want. They give applications, tools and strategies on how to solve specific problems. They take into account their customer's aspiration, lifestyle and desires.


If you look at Tortuga, their blog is different from most blogs. They serve as a resource hub instead of another educational blog on travel related topics. Not only has their traffic grew tremendously, their blog revenue graphs boosted (click on link for their case study). 

3

Proactive strategy always wins

Emil Shour won not by expecting his epic content to be found by others. He reached out to people proactively. After that epic content is created, he reached out to influencers and other blogs who wrote about employee wellness, human resources and other related topics. He also updated those brands and wellness experts that he mentioned or consulted in the article, inviting them to share the article. Earning quality backlinks (a criteria so often discussed as an essential part of SEO) is a proactive relationship building process. That is what makes the difference!

4

Epic resources position you as the source of Preeminence without appearing salesy

Producing epic content like this is a lot of work!

That’s why only rare minorities of entrepreneurs do it.

And those who did position themselves as the expert because of the epic value.

Underpinning such approaches is the strategy of Preeminence, developed by Jay Abraham.

Strategy of Preeminence is to out-deliver the rest of the competition by starting to consult, contribute, guide, advise, mentor and coach, all in the attitude of adding value in great ways without waiting for money to change hands first.

It comes from a space of abundance, instead of desperation or quid pro quo.

Earlier on, I mentioned Snacknation has an extraordinary approach to inbound content marketing.

So what make them so great.

Let’s run through their 2019 guide on employee engagement.

1

Acknowledgement

They begin by acknowledging where their audience is at. They understand the intricacies, confusion and the complexity of the subject. By acknowledging their audience, they help to normalize their challenges. They are affirming their audience that wherever they are, it is ok. They also encourage them why this is the best time to start from where they are.

2

Assurance

Having acknowledged that employee engagement can be a tricky topic, it is also not all doom and gloom. There are greater benefits and they outweigh those challenges. This create assurance. It motivates their audience. It engages them further. They also set up the positioning of this guide to be the go-to resource you’ll ever need.

3

What to expect and why

This frames the audience’s perception and to gear them towards further engagement. They also lay out the big picture in forms of the chapters that are in the guide.

4

The big picture navigation

User experience is a main factor for search experience these days. Content designed for the user ranks better in search engine. The guide offers a big picture navigation of the chapters. People relax and be at their best when they can see the big picture. The big picture lets users know where they are and how to get to the next step whenever they want.

5

Appropriate social proof

This ties in with the corporate audience’s expectation. A report backed by relevant research is more convincing than rhetoric alone. In the process, this builds rapport with their target audience.

6

Unique framework based on their best practice (not necessarily an industry one)

This enable them to communicate their unique voice. It allows them to communicate their point of view while respecting industry practices. A unique framework allows them to establish authority. It builds credibility. It positions them as a leader in this subject-matter. It creates a sense of holism in the subject as well as a shift of paradigm. They can also reinforce their message from different angles without sounding repetitive.

7

Positioning themselves alongside with big players

Instead of featuring Snacknation alone as a case study, they position themselves alongside with other big players such as Google, Zappos and Whole Foods. This shows the audience that Snacknation knows what they are doing as they walk the talk.

8

Provides a natural segue and lead-in to their offering

When they touch on workplace wellness, it creates a nice preframe. When they highlight the value of healthy snacks (their primary offering) as a bridge to employee engagement, it is a natural segue. Not only that, readers can now appreciate why nutrition is key to engagement and performance. It becomes a must-have, not a good to have. All these is possible because they have established trust and authority earlier on. Smart strategy!

9

Implementation

Nothing beats implementation. In this guide, they provide action steps at the end of every chapter. Near the end of the guide, they recap with 8 Week Plan for Employee Engagement Nirvana.

10

Provides a path of elevation and empowerment

Each chapter builds on and enhances the previous one. This instills confidence and leadership in the audience. Irregardless of their position or role in the organization, everyone benefits.

11

Call to action

The call to action is place at various sections of the guide. A final call to action comes as a summary and reminder. Metaphorically, the snack box is communicated as a complete toolkit. It is something any company can own. Like the complete set of resources offered in this guide, employees can benefit from it anytime. Companies benefits as a result. Everyone wins.

So what’s next when you got leads who opt-in? How can you take customers to the next step and the next level?



Do you know what premium clients really want?

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.

      Chapter 8: How to move your clients to the next step beyond the low hanging fruits?      

ASCEND your clients to the next level

how to ascend client experience

​What happens after people opt-in to your initial offer?

Think of it this way, now imagine your clients already have one foot in the door. That makes it easier for you to follow up with your clients.

For Snacknation, they’ll pre-qualify their leads before sending them a sample box. Immediately after that sample box arrives, they do a follow up with them, and look to convert them if it’s a customer into a member. That way, it’s a win-win for Snacknation as well as for their customers.

What if you worry, “I can’t afford to give away free products (or service), that’s too much on our end.”

Here’s how Snacknation look at this whole game of customer acquisition and ascension process.

First, people needs to be warmed up to you.

It’s like dating.

Imagine if someone walks up to you and ask to marry you after having a nice small talk, how would you respond?

That’s what a lot of businesses try to do, they jump the gun in asking for the business.

Second, what is your lifetime customer value of a client?

What is the revenue and net profit a client is worth to you when they become a client? If they are worth a thousand dollars each in lifetime value, you can spend $500 to get them and you still have $500 profit on your backend.

Escalating client's experience; turn clients to raving fans

Guess what keeps clients coming back for more in a coaching, consulting and expertise-based business?

Nope. Not information and knowledge.

In fact, there are high drop-off rates when clients feel there is too much knowledge based stuff (an area I'm guilty of as well). What happens is that people feel stuck or paralyzed. They feel they aren’t moving forward with their knowledge. And when people see they are still a distance away from their outcomes, they give up!

We all want to reward our brain with ‘pleasure’ chemicals. And they get triggered from winning moments. These winning moments come from taking purposeful actions. It gets stronger whenever we get results. Creating positive transformation motivates us to move forward. It keeps us going, from one step to the next.

The biggest challenge most businesses faced today is getting the long term commitment from their clients.

Long-term commitments come from small wins. People are looking for opportunities to connect and enjoy the wins. They want to feel worthy. Small wins raise confidence. Small wins delight us. They create anticipation. All strong lasting relationship are a result of small wins. To create small wins, create experiences where people have a sense of belonging. Look for ways to affirm their participation, contribution and engagement.

This is the power of micro-transformations. They come from micro-commitments, where it is almost impossible for people to fail.

The first place you can begin with is to design feedback loops in your offering.

Here are some ways which you can put in place feedback loops in your service.

  • Quote your clients in your emails, talks, trainings and posts.
  • Using quiz engagements to grow a high-quality and targeted list, uncover buying signals to better serve and sell.
  • Running viral contest that incentivise people to share your content.
  • Interview your clients such that their success can inspire other clients. Present them as case studies. Enrol them as your coaches, facilitators or mentors to those clients who come after them.
  • Reach out to unengaged students or clients. Understand what’s hindering them in taking the next steps - mentally and emotionally.
  • Invite your clients to be part of your new product creation (Ikea effect - when people are part of a product creation, they value their creations more), whether it is your upcoming book, upcoming course or new workshop.

There you have it, these are the fundamental elements to escalate your clients’ experience with your company:

  • Create micro-wins and validate those wins. Celebrate them. Reward them. Affirm them. Connect each win to their future self and to the mission and purpose of your offering.
  • Design feedback loops into your service.
  • What is the core peak emotional experience you can introduce into the customer journey? Delight? Surprise? Belonging? Holism?.

To find out what are the possible best next steps for your clients, begin to listen to what’s still unfulfilled. Despite the value and benefits they have gained through your service, what else are they looking for?

3 levels to evolve and grow your professional services

Now you have some tips on escalating transformational experiences. What are the formats you can package them in order to deliver?

Essentially, there are 3 levels:

1

1:1 level

These are typically done-for-you services, 1:1 coaching or consulting. As you are working in a deep and personalized way, you can price your services at high ticket. Which means, you work closely with a few clients. However, they least scalable. Marketing is simplest and delivery is most adaptable for such format.

2

1:few level

This is the mid-level where delivery is provided for a small group of clients at the same time. They can come in forms of done-with-you, group coaching program, training, workshop, retreats and mastermind groups. There is some leverage here due to the structure of such format. Pricing at this level would be lower than 1:1 level. Mid-level marketing system and resources are required to orchestrate at this level.

3

1:Many level

This level is the most scalable. They usually come in forms of highly digitized services such as membership or subscription model, online course or programs, events, conferences or summits. At this level, marketing is usually complex and resources required can be intensive on the backend. Pricing would be at lowest tier. Which mean, certain volume is needed for profits and growth. This level tends to work well only after you have some structure, results and experiences with 1:1 and/or 1:few model, otherwise, it can be pretty chaotic and unstable when you scale it.

In reality, most successful businesses have a hybrid model of the above.

The prioritization model you can use to decide your ascension model is the R.I.C.E Scoring method as well as the 5 levers of financial model for each element.

  • What is the potential number of people per time period that this model or decision is going to reach? The scoring is based on the number of people that this activity can reach, for example, if this event is going to reach 80 people per month, then the score for this is 80.
  • With regards to your business purpose (refer to section on Building a business greater than you), what is the level of impact that this model or decision is contributing. To make it measurable, assign scores to different levels. 4 for “massive impact”, 3 for “high”, 1.5 for “medium”, 0.5 for “low”, and finally 0.25 for “minimal”.
  • On the overall, what is your level of confidence in implementing this decision or model? Confidence can be measured with a percentage scale as follows: Full = 100%, High = 80% Med = 50% Weak = 20%
  • How much effort is required? What are the resources required? You can assign Fibonacci scale for this: 1(least effort needed), 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 (most effort needed).

The formula for calculating the RICE Score is:

RICE prioritization formula

Let’s suppose you are currently coaching key stakeholders who are influential decision-makers in their organization and in the industry as well.

Even though you are working in small groups of 8 x C-suite per session, these people can influence about 100 people per month.

Impact is quite high, so let’s give a 4.

You have full confidence working with this group of people due to your experience and you love working with them. So let’s give a 100%

Efforts required is pretty low as it is based on your existing high-leverage network, connection and great reviews in the field, so let’s give a 5.

Hence your RICE Score in this example is 80.

Contrast this to another example where you are deciding whether to run an event where you are targeting to have 100 practitioners from the HR profession.

Your marketing efforts are going to reach more people, let’s say 1500 people.

Impact for this event is not as deep as working in small tight groups of highly influential stakeholders. So the score is probably 2.

Your level of confidence for this event is pretty low as this is your first time organizing event of such scale. So let’s say the score here is 30%

A lot of efforts, planning and human resources would be required for this as well as the budget. Hence, the score for this is 21.

The RICE Score for this case is 43.

You can use this formula to help you evaluate the weight of each activities - sales, marketing, financial, human resource and so on in your business.

With that, you can plot out these activities into 4 quadrants as below.

less is more create leverage in your coaching and consulting business

From here, you would want to focus on the 20% that will give you 80% leverage, which is the Quick Wins portion. As you get increasing momentum and leverage from those, you can progress into the Big Bets portion. Less is more.

As you get more business through ascension, it will come a point where you hit a plateau.

This is what you're going to explore in the next chapter.




Do you know what premium clients really want?

Working with premium clients can change your game for 2019 and beyond in your business. This 10-page report gives you the insights into the psychology of premium clients. The DOs and the DON’Ts will help position you to attract them. This report also highlights the red flags to watch out for.

      Chapter 9: Building a professional services, coaching or consulting business greater than you.    

EXPAND your expertise-based business

how to scale and expand your coaching and consulting business

This section probably won’t be much help if you are just starting out and trying to get clients.

As you grow your business, add a few more clients and then before you know it, work becomes hectic and unproductive.

What happens is that most consultants, coaches, trainers and professional service businesses are running on a centralized model. They see themselves as the centre of everything.

centralized model of coaching and consulting business

​​This is the best model to use when starting out because you can oversee everything yourself. It's fast, it's simple.

But as you get involved with more clients, assistants, business partners, contractors, third parties and so on, you’ll hit bottlenecks.

A decentralized model is where you or together with other partners are no longer the only resource your clients can turn to.

decentralized model of service-based business that allows you to scale

A decentralized model leverages on multiple channels for clients, contractors and other parties. They can get what they need without disrupting the flow of your business. It doesn’t limit to building high performance team.

The key is to document your process and workflow, to build a set of repeatable system, processes and checklists.

Next is having a unique methodology, which was explored in chapter 6. That allows you to develop a predictable, repeatable client acquisition process that scales.

Another way to scale a decentralized model is via strategic partnerships and referrals.

growth-fulfillment-freedom-entrepreneur

A tip for engineering partnerships

Look at the ecosystem of your clients’ service providers. What and who else are they utilising as service providers?

What if you could partner with one or two of them?

You can offer a referral fee for every client they refer you.

Likewise, are your clients needing services outside your domain?

If yes, you can outsource to another business who will do that piece of work for them and is good at it. Then get them to pay you a referral fee. This way, you can pass on the work or project to them and still earn some fees without doing the work.

Also, you can engineer partnerships.

Suppose you’re a HR consultant. And you know of a great thought leadership development company that could send you more business.

Instead of asking for referrals, like everyone else…

You lead with value first.

By writing up a 10-point checklist template and guide for establishing collaborative thought leadership with technology, you offer it to the potential referral partner as a lead magnet.

The only “catch” is that they share it co-branded with your business logo on it. And the final page is a quick bio snapshot of their business and your business.

With links to both. As co-authors.

You’re creating value to someone else who will spread that thing of value. Which, by default, will generate word-of-mouth marketing and referrals for you.

If they don’t agree to use the co-branded guide, they can’t use it at all. And you move on to another similar company until one of them says “yes”.

How to build a consistent referral system?

Here is a 3-phase strategy you can deploy to grow a stream of referrals with your best clients:

  • Let your best clients know you love working with them and that they’re probably connected with other people like themselves who mirror their values and qualities. Since they know them, you like to extend an invitation of referring their valued and trusted contacts to you.
  • Then help the client see a clear and vivid picture of who in their lives could benefit most effectively from your services, how and why their lives could change for the better through working with you.
  • Extend a totally risk-free opportunity to review, advise, present a demonstration, talk to or meet with anyone important to that client - as a service to that client. Offer to consult their referral without expectation of purchase, so your clients see you as a valuable expert with whom they can trust their contacts to be in good hands. Plus, you make them look good in front of their contacts.

These can only work if you focus on ONE big thing in your business.

The recipe for disaster many small business owners have is they try to cover all bases. They ended up becoming everything for their prospects.

What’s common among 6, 7 and 8 figures businesses is they start on ONE big thing. As they get good at it and gain momentum, then they look at expanding into other markets and segments.

To sum off, these are the key strategies to expand and grow an expertise-based business greater than you.

1

Build a proven, predictable and repeatable client acquisition process that scales.

2

Develop a set and repeatable system, processes and checklists.

3

Build high-performing teams to execute those systems.

4

Strategic partnership

5

Proactive referral system

What if you can have the flywheel of growth spin your business to greater heights?

prolific growth method

The reality is, people are getting more and more sceptical.

A lot of marketing, branding and selling techniques can’t resonate with the right people. What works well 3 months ago may have already lost its power now.

Good news is, you can set yourself free from this spell of diminishing returns.

Which means, your clients-acquisition and business growth efforts need to be much nuanced, targeted and comprehensive than ever in order to thrive.

You don’t have to wait for the perfect moment or opportunity to start creating prolific growth in your business.



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