Why I'm frustrated with life coach marketing schemes

Oct 7, 2015 at 9:29 a.m. ET
Image: Hero Images/Getty Images

I'm feeling sold. Constantly. I've clicked on countless seductive titles. They're hitting my pain points, know what I truly desire and then sell me something that's unlikely to work — unless I spring for the bazillion dollar version of the program.

It's a battle each time. I know I won't actually read the "amazing new report." I know the urgency I feel isn’t because I really want anything. I'm clicking the Mission Impossible self-destruct button if I don't “act now.” I know that even though there may be up to three pieces of solid info in the free webinar, I'll waste hours of my life on the pitch.

I know all of this, but I'm on a million lists because I'm drawn like a moth to flame for each of these must-have, time-limited and pie-in-the-sky offers from people I've never heard of before I fell into their rabbit holes.

I might have titled this "47 steps to get your next 6-figure client in 20 minutes or less." For any of you who would have clicked on that title in earnest, how adorable! These enticingly-titled missives still have a hold on you. How sweet. Stop it!

I know there are truly talented coaches reaching out with positive intentions to help us. I'm not talking about them. I’m just tired of offers that see the consumer as a dollar sign and leave real results in the dust. Why?

Let me tell you three reasons I'm frustrated with many of the plans I see online.

  1. I'm not you. I love how all of these "6 and 7 figure" coaches think that I can do it because they did it. I'm different, my business is different, and what I'm good at is different. Usually, the mega-coach tells a story about coming back from the brink, living off credit cards and sleeping on a couch. But somewhere in the background is a stint in high-powered, corporate America, the White House or as a model or something. So, if I can't accomplish these big goals after trying your fool-proof method, I might think there’s something wrong with me — not that you, mega-coach person, have different skills and talents that make your program uniquely suited to you. This isn't the magic bullet. These are only suggestions that worked for you. An individualized approach with actual accountability is so much more effective, but it’s not what's for sale here.
  2. I want to do something real. You have to sell something people will buy, but you don't have to create something that won't work, just because it'll sell. I don't want to lower my standards — or my ethics. If I know a program won't work, I don't want to sell it, no matter how much money I'll make. I really don't. Many coaches recommend creating on-line, cookie cutter, do-it-yourself programs. Hooray for automated income! However, most of the time these programs end up gathering dust while clients kick themselves for not doing it. This self-flagellation leads to worse outcomes — not better! I'm being told to care about them buying, not really looking at whether my clients will get the results they paid for. That's unethical and leaves the client-version of me feeling like a big fat dollar sign.
  3. I'm not like everyone else. These provocative email, webinar and blog titles are huge marketing blowtorches to get as many clicks and customers as possible, without much thought about the individual client’s needs or capabilities. Maybe I'm too much of a Pollyanna, but I think we should hold to the standard of providing services to the people who can really benefit from what we offer, not just anyone who will pay.

Okay. Enough of my rant. Time to go practice what I preach — setting up individualized plans for clients I know I can help. Who's with me?

- Katie