Instead of hiring a marketing coach (like me), I would rather you talk to 15 “niche mentors” — people who are in your specific niche (doing the exact kind of things you want to be doing), who are farther along in business than you are, and ask them these 4 questions…
- What has worked best for you in gaining new clients?
- What hasn’t worked, and why don’t you think those strategies worked? (Truly, this can save you months — or years — of flailing around!)
- Who else is relatively successful in our industry, and generous of heart, that might be open to talking with me?
- Is there anything I could do to help you? Or what is the main project you are working on now, that I could lend some support to? (Sincerely ask, and be willing to help however you best can!)
- Have you noticed what your audience has responded best to? What type of messaging gets their attention?
- What would you say is a hidden secret of our niche, known by people like you who’ve been around, that newbies are not aware of?
- If you were to build your business from scratch today, what would you do?
- What resource (e.g. blog, podcast, website) would you recommend for building our type of business?
How to reach out to them so they might say Yes to your request to talk…
If they have additional time to talk…
(This is about understanding what actual words or phrases worked to get their audience’s attention, or topics they wrote about that were well-received, or problems/goals/dreams described in their marketing copy that got them clients. If they are in the same niche as you, these messaging ideas are likely to work for you too… again, saving you months or years of experimentation.)
If they are local to you:
Offer to take them out to lunch or dinner — at the convenience of wherever they work or live. *Everybody has to eat.* It’s better not to eat alone, especially when they’re getting a free meal! smile emoticon
If they are not local:
There are two good options.
- Option 1: “Niche Mentor” Interview Series
This first method costs less money but more time:
Offer to interview them for 30–60 minutes (up to them) on a podcast, video, or interview series and here’s the key — let them know that although you will be promoting them to your audience, they don’t need to promote it at all. They might share it, of course, if the interview turns out well, but requiring it of them is not an equal exchange.
(A “hidden secret” of telesummits is that it’s really the creator/host of the telesummit who wins by building an email list on the promotional efforts of the speakers. And unless the speakers have a really strong — sometimes hyped-up offering AND the audience is an action-taking one (rare, in my experience) — it’s usually a forgotten event within months, with very little to gain by the speakers who promoted.)A hidden secret of telesummits is that it’s really the creator/host of the telesummit who wins by building an email Click To Tweet
Tell the speaker that you are going to promote it to your audience via various channels — and actually follow through and do it!
- Option 2: Pay To Talk With Them
This method obviously costs more money, but less time:
Offer to pay them $50 for 15 minutes of their time via phone or Skype.
In fact, instead of paying $750 for a month of marketing coaching with me, I would rather you do this first:Pay $50 to 15 people who are farther along in your niche, to talk to them for 15 minutes, asking them the questions above — whatever they are willing to answer is fine.
(Once someone agrees to talk w/ you, you might try sending them the questions in advance, letting them know you’ll be asking them those questions and they can answer any they wish to.)
The next time you are being sold on a business training or marketing coaching, remember this principle:
No business coach — unless they specify exactly in your niche — can give you the type of useful advice that someone farther along in your specific type of business can.
Whom to talk with?
As for what stage of the business, you can usually learn more from someone who is just ahead of you than someone much farther along. Someone who is 1–5 years ahead can still remember the struggles you are going through and the solutions that worked well at your stage. Someone who is 5–10 years ahead of you has started to get accustomed to that new level of success, and won’t be able to relate as well to your struggles and what you really need.
Also be aware of personality types: just because a strategy worked for someone doesn’t mean it will absolutely work for you. What you’re doing with this project is gathering the best marketing strategies for your specific niche — the ones that actually work! — then choosing the ones that resonate most with you.
If you implement what I share with you here, I’d love to hear the kind of results you get!
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George Kao is a marketing & business coach who values authenticity, service, and personal growth. He has been featured on hundreds of webinars, telesummits, and podcasts. He loves giving away all his training and content for free, and earns a living only through his 1–1 coaching. To get his best trainings & content in a single monthly email, subscribe for free at www.georgekao.com/email