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Lessons In Perception: Why We Need To Really Care About Our Audience
A few years back, I read a book that really blew me away. It was all about creating a successful coaching business, and it was so different to anything I’d seen before.
I was already a professional coach when I read the book and it gave me a whole host of new tools AND a new found confidence to further support my growing practice.
One of the coaches who wrote the book seemed so deeply spiritual – totally aligned to my own beliefs. In fact, both of these authors, already successful in their own right, felt more authentic than any I’d heard from before at that level.
Right away, I subscribed to the email alerts and soaked up everything I could find from them both.
One of the authors was a fellow Brit and, as his message aligned with my own so deeply, I decided to work with him as soon as I could.
I discovered he ran a series of seminars each year and that a ticket would cost me $4,000. I had some other financial goals to reach first, but I decided I’d take the plunge. The goal attendance year I gave myself was 2020.
But then, something happened to dent my confidence. This coach sent me a personally addressed email (I’m sure the system automated it, but still, I felt special) inviting me to some of his programmes.
Back then, I decided to open up. I replied, explaining our circumstances; my wife had been ill and we’d pretty much reset her business as a result. My immediate priority was getting us back on our feet, but I was working hard and I was confident I’d be able to get there fairly swiftly. As soon as I’d addressed that, I was eager to book onto one of his programmes.
I kept checking and refreshing my inbox. Surely, there must be some mistake. He wasn’t like all the others. He wouldn’t ignore such a heartfelt email, would he? There were definitely some strong sales indicators in my message – I just wouldn’t be buying immediately.
The email never came. Colour me disappointed.
Still, I held onto my hope that it was just a fluke. I really wanted to believe in this guy.
Fast forward to modern day, at the beginning of lockdown the same guy ran a free webinar, advising people on what to do to stay afloat during the crisis.
I attended and, honestly, my disappointment only grew from there. He advised people to start cutting back, to pull in their belts a few notches – to hunker down, slow down and not sell.
Pretty much the exact opposite to the advice I was giving out to my followers. Sure, life was about to get really difficult for some, but if we all kneejerk cancelled all our services, stopped selling and stopped spending, we’d plunge our economy into a much deeper recession than we needed to.
Money doesn’t disappear in a pandemic. It’s still there. It’s just that, for some, the flow becomes tougher.
There are still plenty of people ready and waiting to spend on the products and services they need and want – and if we get flexible and creative on that basis, maybe we can keep cashflow going enough to help some of those who are struggling stay afloat, as well as supporting our own families and our own interests.
It got worse.
After the webinar, he invited us all to a Facebook group. As you might imagine, the majority of participants were other coaches and, for the first few weeks, the community was growing and producing great content.
But then, something happened.
I wrote a post for the group to support and encourage people, and it didn’t appear. I checked. The posts from others had disappeared too. It had been locked down and turned into a one way content feed. We were only allowed to comment on the lead coach’s content. We could no longer participate, unless we behaved like acolytes.
And just like that, the stars I’d been clinging to fell from my eyes and I saw just another coach, albeit one with a large following, panicking and kneejerking his way through lockdown, playing small, trying to control his audience, and expecting a big return.
No way was this guy getting my cash. I no longer felt respect for him. Sure, I’d learned some valuable business lessons from him up to now, but if this was his behaviour during a crisis, he wasn’t the right mentor for me. Not by a long shot.
I even began to doubt the messages I’d soaked up from him early on. Were they all true, or soaked in spin?
I lost faith.
Now, let me play you another scenario. This time, I’ll name the mentor. I’m sure he won’t mind.
There’s a big name tycoon business guy by the name of Grant Cardone. You might have seen him. Great smile, twinkle in his eye, owns his own jet.
I used to think this guy was a total jackass. I thought he was big and brash, didn’t care who he trampled over to get to the deal, another rich, plastic, cash-happy guru with an ego the size of Australia.
What’s interesting here is that I’d never consumed any of his content, never read any of his books, never watched any of his videos. My opinion had been formed by a few social media snapshots and listening to people I knew through networking.
Last year, I went to a platform speaking event, and Grant was on the bill, along with his wife, Elena. I braced and waited for the BS to hit, for the big sell to be pushed at us. Except there was no BS.
He and his wife spoke nothing but inspirational sense – and they seemed genuinely full of encouragement from the outset. They didn’t really need anything from us, but they clearly wanted us all to succeed and to give us some tools to help.
Well, colour me converted!
I followed them both after that, connected with Elena on LinkedIn, and began to soak up their content.
Wow! How wrong could I have been? And how had I fallen into the ignorance trap without even noticing before?
Just a few weeks back, an opportunity presented and I invested in Grant as my mentor, buying into his training and coaching programmes for the next year and beyond. I already feel as though I’ve had my money’s worth. The programme is excellent – and I *always* get replies to my emails – I even had a phone call.
And before you get cynical, I know it’s not just because I spent cash with him.
How do I know that? I signed up to the programme with a different email to the one they had on file and I’ve been getting amazing communications to both of them – they put plenty of effort into communicating with the email that ‘didn’t buy’ as well.
As for the first guy, I replied to another of his emails this week, just as a test. I sensed he was still panicking and desperate for those sales, and I guessed, if that was the case, I’d get a response this time.
He replied swiftly. Not much care in the email. Just offering me two opportunities – one for just shy of a thousand dollars, one closer to that four thousand I’d originally allocated.
Sorry mister, I’ve already spent with Grant. His customer service is better, his team seems to care, they’ve already been to my website and congratulated me on achievements so far, their efforts are out of this world and… guess what else? He offers way more than you do, gives amazing value AND I still have plenty of spare change from the cash you lost out on.
It just goes to show… we should always, always do our own research instead of listening to others who probably don’t have the full story and, if we’re going to invest in ourselves, we need to be damn sure we know what – and who – we’re buying into.
Until next time,
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