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The Automated Impact Coach (with Alexander Morris)

The Automated Impact Coach (with Alexander Morris)

Learn how to get more clients, do less work and make a difference in this presentation recording from the Great to Elite Online Summit for Coaching Businesses with Alex Morris, owner of the digital marketing agency for coaching businesses To The Moon Digital.

The vision for coaching businesses

The vision for coaches is threefold: more attention, influence, and impact. The goal is to make a bigger impact on the world and go beyond individual interests. Having more customers means more opportunities to contribute to the planet in various ways.

What is the vision for coaching businesses

Additionally, coaches aim to minimize administrative tasks and maximize conversions by automating delivery processes, allowing them to focus on coaching and enjoying their time.

The problems that coaching businesses face

Firstly, coaches face intense competition at the top end without sufficient automation at the bottom end. This results in a lack of success, inadequate leads, and insufficient sales. 

Secondly, the coaches who do succeed often find themselves overwhelmed by handling everything on their own, leading to limited scalability due to time and energy constraints.

Additionally, automation and systems can appear complex, especially for creative individuals. The mention of processes, automation, and CRMs can be overwhelming, as many people insist their approach is the only one.

Three problems that coaching businesses face

To address these issues, solutions can be implemented. Firstly, coaches need to establish themselves as the go-to experts in their niche to overcome the problem of excessive competition. Creating a seamless journey from marketing to sales to delivery and systematizing the process is crucial. Finally, automation should be integrated to streamline and automate the entire journey.

Three solutions for the problems that coaching businesses face

The devil is in the details

Many coaching businesses get caught up in choosing the best software and automation processes, suffering from shiny object syndrome. However, they lack a proven process for generating leads, sales, and delivering great results to their clients.

Instead of fixating on conversions, CRM, reels, and YouTube ads, coaches should focus on creating a recipe that brings in customers initially. Otherwise, they're like a chef with expensive tools but no recipe to showcase their work.

To solve this issue, you should prioritize the top of the funnel and generating leads before diving into automation.

What most coaches think they need

When it comes to marketing, coaches often believe they need a never-ending list of strategies such as e-books, webinars, upsells, downsells, discovery calls, strategy sessions, landing pages, Facebook groups, daily videos across platforms, sales funnels, zaps, memberships, podcasts, and a large following to be an influencer. While there's nothing inherently wrong with these approaches, they may not be necessary for everyone.

If you have the energy, passion, and enjoy creating content, then organic marketing strategies can be excellent. However, not everyone has the time or capacity for it. In reality, there are only a few essential things needed.

What coaches actually need

To succeed and reach the stage where automation becomes viable, coaching businesses need a few key elements. Here's the breakdown: a big breakthrough idea, a profitable niche, a unique signature mechanism, and one significant belief. It's crucial to address these steps individually, ensuring you have them sorted before considering automation. 

1. Breakthrough idea 

Your unique selling proposition is what distinguishes your coaching business from others. It's important not to simply replicate what everyone else is doing or try to imitate popular coaches like Grant Cardone, Gary V, or Dean Martini. Instead, strive to do something special and unique.

For instance, Weight Watchers introduced the breakthrough idea that weight loss doesn't have to be a solitary journey. They created a community where people can make changes together while still enjoying treats. 

Headspace made meditation simple and accessible to everyone, challenging the notion that it's only for spiritual gurus or those with ample time. Whole 30 offers a 30-day reset to transform both the body and the relationship with food.

At my company, To the Moon Digital, we believe that coaches can achieve tremendous marketing success with straightforward strategies. It doesn't have to be complicated or include every possible feature to be effective.

Four examples of a breakthrough idea for your unique selling proposition as a coach

2. Profitable niche 

Understanding the concept of Red Ocean, Blue Ocean is crucial when selecting your target audience, especially for cold or paid marketing on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and other social media.

In this analogy, the fish represent potential customers, while we, as marketers, are the sharks seeking to serve them. However, unlike actual sharks, our aim is to provide better outcomes for our clients.

Visualize it this way: a red ocean represents a broad niche like business owners. While there may be millions of potential leads within this niche, the challenge is the high competition from other "sharks" with significant budgets and large audiences. It can be challenging to compete with those who already have millions of followers and substantial advertising budgets. So, what should we do? If you can compete in that space, that's fantastic. However, if you can't, the solution is to navigate towards a blue ocean.

This strategic shift is a pivotal point for many marketers starting their journey. The key is to narrow down your niche by taking one step further. For instance, instead of targeting all business owners, you can focus on niches like florists, CrossFit gyms, dog groomers, or any specific area that interests you. Think about the clients you have previously worked with and achieved great results for.

Visual explanation of the red ocean and blue ocean concepts for narrowing down your niche as a coaching business

By doing this, you significantly reduce the size of your "ocean." While there may be fewer potential clients, there will also be fewer competitors. This positions you as a dominant player within that niche, allowing you to become the go-to expert and eliminate direct competition. It's not about being better than others; it's about strategically positioning yourself in a smaller pool.

This targeted approach is where the monetary success lies. However, when coaching businesses start targeting cold audiences using paid advertising and social media, they realize the effectiveness of selecting a specific industry and targeting a specific type of person. It doesn't mean you can't work with other types of clients, but it does mean that your advertisements will be more impactful and yield better results.

3. Unique mechanism

The unique mechanism is a crucial element that sets your coaching business apart and should be systemized. Once someone becomes a client, why should they choose to work with you? 

One example of a unique mechanism is the rapid retarget method, which efficiently moves leads from cold to call with just a few clicks. People are interested in automating this process without the need for complex systems or appointment-setting calls.

Explanation of the rapid retarget method for taking your leads from cold to call

Why is this important for your coaching business? Firstly, it creates structure. Secondly, it establishes you as an expert coach who delivers results. 

When clients have a tangible outcome and a clear path, thanks to your proven process, they believe they are more likely to achieve success with you. Even if you're a life coach or work with less tangible results, there is still a way to systemize your delivery and provide a clear path for your clients. 


4. One big belief 

When writing ads, it's essential to focus on a key belief that would make it almost foolish for your audience not to work with you. The goal is to create a strong conviction that your unique mechanism is the fastest and easiest way for them to achieve their desired results, bypassing common challenges in their industry or niche. 

For example, if potential clients see the rapid retarget method or your three-step funnel as the most efficient way to generate predictable leads without the need for expensive and complicated marketing funnels, it becomes a compelling reason to choose your services over others.

Explanation of the one big belief method for achieving desired results as a coach

Identifying and emphasizing this one big belief aligns their goals of acquiring leads and seeking simplicity with the solution you offer. It positions you as the clear choice compared to other marketing companies or DIY approaches. Consider what your one big belief is and how it resonates with your target audience. 

Make sure your lead-to-sale-to-delivery process works 

You need to assess the response to your offer by turning things on and evaluating if people are interested. Are they clicking on the offer, opting in, booking calls, and converting? Identify any blockages in the pipeline, especially from cold leads to sales, when you activate your ads and marketing campaigns. The blockage can occur at any point, and it's difficult to predict initially.

To mitigate the risk, it's preferable to start by turning things on simply rather than building the entire backend system before activating anything. This approach prevents wasting time, weeks, and thousands of dollars on an elaborate follow-up system when there may be limited clicks on the front end.

Questions to ask yourself to make sure that your method works

Instead, focus on the first step of the pipeline. Release your imagery, creatives, videos, and offers to the market and be flexible and agile, similar to a lean startup. Test if people are clicking and opting in. Once that step is successful, add the next step, and continue progressing based on the response, such as booking calls and program participation. Systemize and address any blockages once you have confirmed the effectiveness of each step.

In marketing, prioritizing progress over perfection is crucial. Launch quickly to accelerate the learning process, as everything is a test until it proves successful.

The importance of automation for coaching businesses

Now that your lead-to-sale-to-delivery process is tested and proven, you can focus on automation. 

Start by listing every step involved, from capturing leads with the initial opt-in to the sales process when they click on your ad, speaking with your team, scheduling calls, processing payments, completing onboarding forms or questionnaires, delivering your unique mechanism, and managing offboarding or upselling.

Take the time to write down each step, which may require some effort but will be worthwhile. It doesn't take long when you think about it. Then, input this information into a CRM system such as Pipedrive or a project management system like ClickUp, Trello, or Asana, depending on your preference. 

If you have a team, assign each step to a team member. However, if you're handling everything on your own, that's perfectly fine. Some individuals prefer managing all aspects themselves, and that's a valid approach.

For example, within our project management software, ClickUp, we have client folders displaying a 57-step process from the sale to the client's third month. Each step is systemized and assigned to a team member with specific daily tasks, ensuring streamlined work and high energy. As we progress through the delivery months, team members may change, but the processes remain consistent.

Example of clickup software for automation for coaching businesses

To maintain consistency, I've created standard operating procedures (SOPs) and tutorials for each step. While it may require time, it enables you to delegate 90% of your business tasks.

Example of a standard operating procedure sop for coaching businesses

Here's my approach: Whenever I need to perform a task before teaching someone else, I record myself doing it using screen recording software. I verbally explain each step, and then with the help of artificial intelligence or a virtual assistant, I convert the video into written instructions. I transcribe it and use tools like ClipScribe to enhance accessibility. Artificial intelligence is incredibly useful in this context.

Creating automation for coaching businesses

When you want to replicate your coaching abilities, SOPs and tutorials become crucial for automation. It's an exciting phase where the results can be even more enjoyable than the implementation itself. Here are some examples of what we do in our business.

First, we connect our CRM system to the lead platform, allowing leads to enter our project management software. This software guides them through our pipeline and keeps them engaged. Our aim is to automate every step of the process. When a lead comes in, our Slack channel notifies us with their name, email, and phone number, prompting us to contact them promptly.

Example of connecting crm to comms channel as an effective automation

Throughout the day, these notifications continue to arrive, and our team eagerly makes calls and bookings. Additionally, we incorporate charitable donations at different stages of the pipeline, enhancing the sense of importance and excitement.

Automation is crucial for tracking the speed of your business when you're no longer directly involved in the sales process. Every aspect, including the delivery process, should be automated. Zapier is a great tool for this, providing affordable automation capabilities. It streamlines the journey from leads coming in through Facebook to their integration into your CRM. As they progress through the CRM, various automated actions occur, such as Slack notifications and emails. When a sale is made, an onboarding email is triggered, and upon receiving payment, we initiate charity donations to create positive impacts.

Example of a use case of zapier for automation of lead generation and onboarding for coaching businesses

Whenever a client fills out a Google form requesting support or sends a message, an automatic task is created. We assist clients with content creation and podcast bookings, so when they request a call through our website, a task is generated. Additionally, when a client reaches one of the folders with 58 steps, a task is automatically created.

Example of a use case of zapier for automation of client delivery, content creation and support for coaching businesses

This centralized platform eliminates the need for constant communication across multiple channels and allows clients to reach you in a unified way, even during evenings when family life should be undisturbed. The software we use for this consolidation is truly remarkable.

Here's an overview of a simplified flow chart that shows the software applications and how they should be applied to your process. 

Automating lead generation and follow-up

The first step is lead generation and follow-up. When a lead opts into your Facebook ad, Zapier integrates with Pipedrive. This creates a deal in Pipedrive, and the team receives a notification in Slack. Simultaneously, funds are allocated towards planting a tree or supporting the tree planting initiative. All of this happens automatically within seconds of the lead coming in.

Once the lead is captured, they receive a follow-up email sequence through your email software. This sequence focuses on booking a call and serves as a reminder to schedule an appointment. To streamline this process further, consider using dedicated appointment setting software. The software applications involved in this process are Facebook, Zapier, Pipedrive, Slack, Calendly, and ActiveCampaign.

Example of software applications involved in a complete automation process for lead generation and follow-up

Automating sales/onboarding

Once the lead is in the process, all you need to do is attend the strategy session once they're booked and welcome these individuals to the business.

When a lead is entered into Pipedrive, leave a contact record. If they don't respond, an "unable to contact" email sequence is triggered, which includes automated and manual follow-ups from the sales team over a period of five to seven days. This process continues until the deal is lost.

Prior to the scheduled call, pre-call resources are automatically sent as the lead progresses through your CRM. These resources can include homework assignments, questionnaires, videos, and training materials for them to review before their next call. They also receive reminders with relevant links, ensuring they have all the information they need. All of this is accomplished without direct involvement from you or your team. It's as simple as clicking a button.

Next, send onboarding emails to the clients. They book their first session, and once the onboarding process is complete and their client folder is created, you can confidently meet a client whom you've never met before. The client's initial experience with you will be truly exceptional, demonstrating that you are a legitimate and caring business.

Example of software applications involved in a complete automation process for sales and onboarding

How long does it take to build an automation system?

It may seem like hard work, but building a system like this doesn't take months of continuous effort. Instead, it's about completing lots of little tasks diligently over a couple of months. 

The key is to keep building and refining your pipeline, making sure everything is systemized before automating. This gradual approach results in a more efficient and effective process.

How much does it cost to build an automation system?

Is it expensive? Not really. Our combined software costs are less than 300 Australian dollars per month, which is even less in US dollars.

Alexander morris’s quote about how to evaluate if an automation software is worth buying for your coaching business

Also, consider the money saved by not personally handling each task, which could be thousands of dollars per month. When you put it into perspective, the investment in software becomes more reasonable.

Is having an all-in-one software a good idea?

Some people suggest using all-in-one software solutions like Go High Level. However, we build our process gradually, focusing on each step individually instead of trying to do everything at once. This approach will help you identify which automations work best and allow you to step away from day-to-day operations and focus on the next steps.

Key takeaways from this presentation

If your coaching business doesn't have a proven and systemized method for attracting clients, demonstrating results, offering compelling offers, and having a predictable lead-to-sale process, it's not advisable to jump into systemizing and automating right away. 

Instead of getting distracted by shiny objects, focus on guiding people through your process and providing exceptional experiences. Once everything is running smoothly, you can consider automating the process. Once you achieve that, you'll be able to scale your business, relax, and pursue your interests.

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