How Small Business Gets Salespeople For Free by Mitch Russo
Got customers? Do they love what you do? If so, then you may be in a position to create a powerful new selling machine which also transforms your company free.
That’s exactly what some of the top businesses in the world have done, and you can do it too. By using certification as a business model, you create a valuable opportunity to enroll your best clients initially, help them to be successful as a certified coach or consultant, then bring in others to duplicate their success, quarter after quarter. It’s exactly what Intuit, Salesforce, Infusionsoft, HubSpot, and others have done, and they continue to do so year after year.
The way to do this successfully is to create a tribe of people who love your company, who identify with your mission and who resonate with representing YOU as your certified consultant/coach. That resonance exists for two specific reasons:
1. There is a community spirit, driven by a code of ethics, with contributors and collaborators all seeking to make the “tribe” thrive.
2. There is a self-sustaining business model that literally feeds the community a steady stream of leads, clients and opportunities.
Most certification programs sell certificates. Most coaching certification is purchased, and buyers are on their own, never actually making any money because they don’t want to sell.
That’s why coaching certification can be purchased for a few thousand dollars or, in some cases, a lot less.
Certification is not regulated or even defined clearly other than as a way of implying that the person who has completed the program is competent at what they studied. But we know this alone is not sufficient for building a business.
The proof is that many certification programs have not been completed or are completed and never monetized. Based on my perspective, the vast majority of companies that sell certification see it as an end product that generates revenue. I believe that’s short-sighted.
Those companies that truly understand the value of a real certification program see it as helping their best clients transition into a new profession as their own business. What’s the difference? Points one and two above are where we start.
Any community must be driven by a set of values and boundaries, particularly your new community. Without those two elements, entropy takes place. When building your tribe, start with a code of ethics. The code is a guide to how people should treat each other, what rights they have and don’t have in relation to the company’s intellectual property, assets, and resources, along with guidelines on how to present professionally.
When I work with clients, I provide this framework as the “coaching code of ethics,” which is a 38-point, comprehensive set of guidelines that spell out in great detail exactly what is and is not considered fair and reasonable.
The second element is that of helping your certification graduates get clients and experience. In my new book, Power Tribes, I present a blueprint for how to do this step by step.
From my perspective, this is where most companies fail. Even if they have a code of ethics, most don’t focus on co-creating the success required for certification graduates (apprentices) to thrive.
You must help your certification graduates get clients and experience by providing a system of consistent lead flow and follow-up for each to tap into. The mechanics are straightforward. You need a customer relationship management (CRM) system and a body of leads to feed it. You already have the leads but may not realize their value. They are your prospects that didn’t buy.
Most companies have tons of prospects – far more then they do customers/clients. What would happen if you offered each prospect the chance to buy your product, even after they have said “no” several times, by adding a free series of one-to-one coaching sessions as part of the purchase?
You will revive some prospects and turn them into clients. The coaching sessions may even be more valuable than your product! Those sessions are delivered to your new buyers by your certified coaches at no cost to you. At the end of their third free session, your coaches offer a coaching package at a rate that is comfortable for both the coach and your client.
Now, what if you set up your systems so you can share in the coaching revenue as well as the sale itself?
After their first year, you can discount the second year and sell certification to your existing coaches as a renewal. Now you have a recurring revenue stream and an army of certified coaches/consultants who can resell your products and support themselves, too.
This is truly only the beginning of the value certification can deliver to any company willing to build the training systems, back-end CRM and support system for your program.
Now that you have an active, thriving certification program, you will likely have a loyal tribe around your company. Maybe they attend your trade shows and events for free, and maybe they will support your clients with assistance and training while giving you a presence in a variety of locations.
It’s simple but not easy, you need a plan. Work with the examples and ideas in Power Tribes and you are off to a great start. You can get your copy here: PowerTribesBook.com