How to Become a Business Coach

Business Coach Marketing Like a Professional Poker Player

By on September 27, 2015
Business Coach Marketing Like a Professional Poker Player

People often ask me how to win at the high stakes game of business coach marketing. And they’re often surprised when I respond that one of the best tips on how to win at marketing can be learned from successful poker players.

Let me explain.

About a decade or so ago I got a bit obsessed with poker.

For an ex-mathematician like me who then went on to study business and psychology, it’s an alluring game, full of analogies and parallels with business coach marketing. And, as I look back, my knowledge of poker helped me immensely in my quest to win at the game of business coach marketing.

Although I haven’t played for years, I still have a huge library of poker literature in storage, including Brunson, Sklansky, Malmuth, Caro, Schoonmaker, dozens of them. Now I’m not suggesting that you run out and buy books on poker. I’ll save you the time by sharing this article with you.

I often think about the similarities between poker and marketing. Here’s a lesson that struck me recently.

Poker Lesson On How to Win at Business Coach Marketing: Stack the Odds in Your Favour

Perhaps the biggest difference between poker professionals and casual players – the thing that most results in one group winning money and the other losing it – is simply that the pros play fewer hands.

In the most popular form of poker, “hold-em,” there’s a saying that “any two cards can win.” And while that may be true in exceptions, following that advice and regularly playing any two cards is a sure-fire route to the poorhouse.

Instead, the pros stack the odds in their favour by only playing their best-starting hands. They sit out, round after round, and only invest their precious chips in starting hands they know have a positive expected value (i.e. if played often enough, they’ll make money).

It’s not a particularly clever strategy. It’s not a particularly exciting one. But it works. It’s the foundation upon which they build.

Now, if you were to watch poker on TV it wouldn’t seem that way. Every pro mixes up their game and plays cards one wouldn’t expect so that they don’t become predictable. And inevitably, the TV shows focus on those unusual hands, or on hands where a big bluff comes off or someone gets lucky.

But underneath all the fireworks, and the table talk, the pros know the odds and they play them.

Similarly, in business coach marketing, one thing that separates successful business coaches from those who struggle is that they stack the odds in their favour by focusing on prospects with a high chance of becoming clients.

It sounds obvious. But so few business coaches do it.

They don’t have a clear picture in their mind of exactly the sort of person likely to need their services.

They go to networking events filled with people unlikely to ever become a client or to refer one.

Their website offers nothing of value or interest to the people who would make the best clients for them.

When they ask for referrals, they say they’d be happy to get a referral to “anyone” or “small businesses.” Such broad definitions mean that they don’t get referred to anyone (or worse still, they get referred to people never likely to buy from them and inevitably waste their time).

If you want to win at the high stakes game of business coach marketing, invest your time and effort like professional poker players invest their chips–only in the very highest potential areas. Practically speaking, this means you should take a fresh look at your marketing list. Do you have the right sized businesses in your list? How about your marketing message. Is it geared perfectly to your ideal client?

For most of us, our time is a super-scarce resource. Yet so often we use marketing approaches that cause us to spend valuable face-to-face time with people who aren’t perfect prospects.

The result is not only wasted time for us – it’s also a painful experience for both sides. And it makes the journey to setting up a coaching business much longer and more arduous.

Don’t be like the poker amateurs who play any two cards and throw away their chips night after night. If you want to win at marketing, play your cards like the pros.

Ian Brodie is a marketing strategist, blogger, and author of the Amazon bestseller “Email Persuasion.” To get free access to his very best marketing strategies to win more clients, head over to his web site by clicking HERE.

P.S. To learn more about successful business coach marketing, download our FREE ebook: How To Become a Business Coach. When Coaches’ Coach Founder (and former pastor) Eric Dombach started his business coaching practice in 2001, he had NO contacts, NO professional experience, and NO marketing or sales skills. Through hard work, dedication, and lots of trial and error, he grew his business coaching practice from $0 to $1 Million in 4 short years. To learn how he did it, grab your copy of our ebook: How To Become a Business Coach.

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About Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie helps consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win more clients. He's the author of the #1 Amazon bestseller Email Persuasion and has been named as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders in Marketing and Sales and one of the "resources of the decade" for professional services marketing.

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