Overcome the Discomfort of Business Development

Authentic relationship buildingThe biggest challenge I see coaches and facilitators struggling with is business development or active marketing.

When you start your own business, particularly in the early years, you will need to spend up to 75% of your time each week meeting with potential clients. From a business perspective, you need to build a sales funnel – one that is full of lots of prospects so a few of them will hire you to work with them.

Once you know who you want to support (your target clients), and how you want to support them (your offerings), they need to know who you are, that you are available and ready to serve them, and why they would benefit from working with you.

The act of getting out there and pounding the pavement is so daunting to some coaches and facilitators, that they either a) stay at home worrying about the perfection of their website and social engagement strategies, b) build more programs for their clients, or c) they take more courses to make them better at coaching and facilitation because that’s where the fun is. That’s where they feel comfortable and they LOVE continuous learning. The problem is that they go more and more into debt and they haven’t got any clients to bring in the revenue.

Why is Business development challenging for solopreneurs? I’ve asked lots of them, and experienced this learning curve in my business as well.

When I ask others, they say “because I have to ask them to pay me for my services, and my services are based on my ability, and I’m not sure I know enough or am good enough” or whatever their inner critic is saying to them at the moment. They are scared.

Building relationships for your business may be very new for you – you’re back in beginner’s mind and skill level. Of course it will be daunting. The coaches and facilitators who I see do really well, are those who have had some kind of sales training so they already know how, and they are really comfortable, in the body, with sharing their new-found passion with others and enrolling them.

What can you do?

Here’s where authenticity comes in.

What can be helpful is to have an ongoing practice of working through the 4 As of becoming an authentic leader. Please pull out the week one materials from our FREE Email series, and review the following:

First, Awaken to the reality that building relationships for your business is different and new and is daunting and that you are feeling fearful. Your services are now based on you – your skills and knowledge – and that creates incredible vulnerability. Reframing your value (as opposed to feeling you aren’t ready or a good enough coach or facilitator) can be a good starting place – awareness of clients with personality types where you are triggered, is helpful as well.

Second, cultivate Awareness of the fear and how it is showing up internally – in your thoughts, emotions and physiological sensations. Mostly I see that it’s an in-the-moment, immediate tendency to get rid of the discomfort by either offering something for free or discounting your pricing. While this makes the discomfort go away momentarily, it comes back again once you have realized you just diminished your personal value (not to mention confidence) a little bit in the process.

Third – take Action – first internally as you practice self-managing through the arc of intense energy. (see my blogpost, How not to snap, as a reminder).

Developing your “muscle” or ability to stay present through the discomfort of the enrollment process – particularly when you have to ask someone to pay you for your services – can be one of the most important practices you have in your business-building tool kit.

Fourth – continue to cultivate new Awareness as you practice building trust-based relationships, self-managing when you are uncomfortable, and standing in the truth of your worth. Remember you are GREAT at what you do. You will deliver incredible VALUE for your clients. If there’s a fit, they will want to work with you. And if there isn’t a fit….there’s someone else who is.