Now that may not seem like a big deal to you, but I can tell you it was a very big deal to me.
Here’s why.
1. I had been thinking about that lobster roll all week. Every time I thought about how old I was turning, I thought about the lobster roll instead.
2. It was the last lobster roll I was going to eat for a long time because I was starting a diet the next day.
3. I live in Maine. We take our lobster rolls very, very seriously.
So this morning I found myself complaining bitterly to a friend about my lousy birthday lobster roll. She grimaced sympathetically and nodded her head, the very picture of compassion.
Then she looked me sternly in the eyes, leaned in close, and in her most serious voice whispered, “I just had the best lobster roll I’ve ever eaten in my life. Do you want to know where?”
Did I want to know where? Of course I wanted to know where!
So she told me. And when I said I had never heard of the place even though it’s just a few miles from where I live, she said, “I know. No one has. It’s a teeny, tiny place. Just a local store – really just a kind of neighborhood convenience store.”
“And their lobster rolls are good?”
Kate rolled her eyes and smacked her lips. “The best!”
So I got directions from her. Oh yeah, I knew the place. I drove by it all the time. It was exactly what Kate had described – just a small local store. No big deal at all.
And that got me thinking.
The purveyor of lousy birthday lobster rolls is a well known and very large restaurant right on the water in one of Maine’s most charming coastal villages. The very antithesis of Kate’s “teeny, tiny place… a kind of neighborhood convenience store.”
Here’s what I concluded.
Size doesn’t matter. Location doesn’t matter. What matters is the value delivered to the customer.
It’s true of lobster rolls, and it’s true of coaching services.
(Phew! Finally! I was wondering if I was ever going to get to the point.)
The size of your business doesn’t matter. I bet you’re just like me – a 1-person show running your coaching practice out of your home office.
The location of your business doesn’t matter. You can be located at the ends of the earth just so long as there is good phone and internet service, right?
None of that matters as long as you deliver value.
In fact, your smaller size might be an advantage when it comes to attracting clients and delivering value. Nobody wants to be faceless, nameless Client No. 98673. And everyone appreciates when the personal touch is heaped on top of service and value.
So here’s a question for you. If small is good, then why do so many coaches spend so much time trying to sound big?
Here’s a suggestion. Keep your message in sync with your size. When you are communicating with your prospects and clients, don’t pretend to be any more or less than what you are – a really terrific coach who happens to be a one-person band.
“We here at Coaching Incorporated would like to welcome you to our website.”
“This is Jane Doe of Coaching for You, and I would like to welcome you to my website.”
Which one sounds more personal? Approachable? Which one makes you feel more welcome? Which one are you more inclined to trust, even at this early stage in the game?
Coaching is a personal, relationship-based business. You land clients and make sales when you establish personal connections. You retain clients and make even more sales when you establish personal relationships.
So why would you ever want to use lofty, one step removed language that keeps your connection with your market at something of a distance? The answer is you wouldn’t.
Here are three tips to keep your message right-sized and effective:
1. Don’t use the word “we” to refer to yourself or your coaching business if you are a solo practitioner (unless, of course, you’re a multiple personality).
2. When you “talk” to your market – eg. on your website or in your sales letter or on your blog – write the way you would talk to a friend over a cup of coffee. Don’t write as if you are delivering the commencement speech at Harvard.
3. Aim for a 5th grade readability level in just about everything you write. You can go to the website and it measures document and website readability free of charge.
Remember. Size doesn’t matter. How you talk to your market does.
Okay. I’ve gotta go now. There’s a lobster roll sitting here with my name on it.


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