I always love it when the topic for my eZine is handed to me on a silver platter the day I'm going to write it!
Here's what happened:
I got a call from a person in a coaching organization who was looking for experienced business coaches they could take through their advanced coaching program.
The offer: The program is six months long and would train the participants in their successful coaching methodology. Then they would provide an ongoing flow of coaching clients to those they had trained. Price tag was $5,000.
Now this really isn't a bad offer, especially if the coaching was high quality and if they sent a lot of business to the trained coaches.
But the way they were marketing this was science fiction.
I'll explain their plan in a minute, but first let me define science fiction marketing plans: "They look good on paper but they won't fly."
Science fiction is great for books and movies.
Take the movie, Avatar, for instance (highly recommended, by the way)! - Let's see, grow a humanoid from alien and human dna that looks just like the aliens but has zero brain impressions. Then put a human in what looks like a tanning bed and transfer the consciousness of the person into the home-grown alien. Viola, you have a blue alien who is 12 feet tall and with a human consciousness!
It looks great on paper, and made one hekuva movie. But the technology isn't quite there yet. It's not something we can accomplish yet with our existing technology - plus there's quite a shortage of mindless, blue alien bodies to go around.
Here was the marketing plan of this organization:
First what we'll do is contact coaching schools and organizations who have strong connections to top-notch coaches. Then we'll ask these people and organizations to give us the email and phone numbers of these coaches so we can call them up and enroll them into our program. Done deal!
Sounds good on paper, but here are the reasons it's science fiction:
1. Why should I give you the names and contact information for top-notch coaches I know? What's in it for me? Nothing.
2. If you then contact those coaches and try to sell them on the value of this program, why should they sign up? Only on the strength of the referral? That's a very, very hard sales job because there was zero information, education or warming up of said top-notch coaches.
These two things relegate the plan to science fiction, because they ignore two important facts of human nature: a) Very few people will do something for nothing, and b) People who know nothing about something are unwilling to engage in a selling conversation.
How they could make this a real, workable marketing plan:
1. Offer your referring sources a reward (such as a percentage) of the program fee.
2. Educate the coaches through endorsements, online information, teleclasses, and other marketing info that will warm them up.
3. Do advertising in a coaching magazine to educate people about the program and send them to your web site for more info, teleclasses etc.
4. Have people who are interested in the program fill out an application form to make sure they are qualified.
5. Set up appointments with only the most qualified, top-notch coaches and convert a percentage into program participants.
This approach would take time and planning, but it actually has a real chance of working. The science fiction plan, on the other hand, will likely crash and burn.
The question is, are you basing your marketing on science fiction principles? These principles have never worked and are not likely to work for you either.
And heck, this plan wouldn't even make a good movie!
You need to know human nature to market successfully. You need to understand what people respond to and why. You need to understand that people will only act in their own best interests, and also need to have some degree of familiarity, trust, and information about a service before they will take the next step.
This is not rocket science. But it continues to amaze me that people hang all their hopes on a plan that looks great on paper but has no chance of flying.
Check your basic marketing science before you launch your plan.
The More Clients Bottom Line: Some things will fly and some won't. In order for a marketing plan to fly it needs to be based on proven principles, not hope. If you want to attract more business, learn the principles that work and then test them until you have a proven plan that will attract clients every time.
Tell us of a science fiction marketing plan you tried that crashed and burned. Please share on the More Clients Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.