Moving your business online can be a challenging task. You quickly realize that to be successful online you need to learn how to use a multitude of new software and social media platforms. That’s an intimidating prospect. So, to get started, you ask Google where you should go first. Immediately your search returns a long list of coaches, consultants, and programs which will teach you how to establish your Instagram account, create a strong Pinterest board collection, or run your ads through Facebook.
The problem is that there are so many options to choose from. Researching each one, you notice that everyone’s packages and classes kind of look the same, which means making a decision just got that much harder.
While getting started with my online business I searched high and low for consultants to help me learn what I needed to know. Initially, I made mistakes and hired people with no idea what they were doing. I wasted a lot of money on those mistakes. Over time, I got better at it, and eventually I began hiring others who had major impacts on my businesses.
I learned the hard way, but you don’t have to. Using these experiences, I came up with 5 crucial questions I needed answered before I’d commit to anything. You should be able to find this information fairly easily on any consultants website or in their sales copy. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them. They should be happy to answer any of your questions. If they aren’t, well then, that’s a red flag right there.
Can they guarantee results?
If you’re hiring someone to teach you the ins and outs of a platform, you want to make sure that they do not guarantee you a specific sales result. They should promise you tools & education, and provide testimonials, but no one can promise you a specific sales result. It’s their job to educate you, and it’s up to you to create content and implement the lessons.
If you have good content, a firm grasp on your target audience and you know how to talk to them, then there is no reason why you won’t see amazing results from your social media endeavors. But your consultant cannot guarantee it. Instead ask them to provide you with representative examples of people they have helped in the past, and have them (briefly) describe how. Using their historical successes will help you to visualize the potential.
Beware of Social Media Jargon
Someone who is truly an expert who wants to help won’t resort to using jargon to impress you. They don’t need to. Their work speaks for itself. Their website and copy should be written so that anyone could understand it. I’ve found that people who fall back on using industry specific terms without explaining them first are likely to educate in that same way, and I learned pretty quickly that if I couldn’t understand their sales page, I probably wasn’t going to be able to understand them.
Furthermore, make sure they have a website. An established website is a good indicator of how seriously a consultant takes their business, and how committed they are to creating a quality product and a strong reputation.
How is their training different?
Anyone can teach you how to create a Facebook ad using the ad manager, or to post on Instagram. That takes about an hour of time and a computer. Will they provide you with any information that will allow you to actually create good content? Do they have an idea of what the audience of their chosen platform wants to see? Do they know who the audience of the platform they are teaching you about is? What aspect of their training makes them stand out from their competitors? Do they have a specific system or philosophy that makes them unique? Knowing this will ensure that you learn what you need to, and that how you learn is aligned with how they educate.
What are the benchmarks for success and how are they determined?
Each social media platform has limitations in terms of what it can offer. If you’re using Instagram, your pictures may be spectacular and everyone may click on them to visit your site. Your ads may be epic and elicit hundreds of clicks at amazing rates, which is amazing! For the purposes of this discussion, lets assume you have an outdated website, an ignored business page, or a completely dead VIP group. Even if your social media endeavors deliver 100% of the time, you will unlikely be able to convert your visitors to shoppers if you don’t deliver on what you promised in your social media outreach.
In these examples, the social media funnel and advertising worked perfectly as expected, which is a benchmark for success. But you did not achieve the sales conversion you were aiming for. However, the issue in this case isn’t the ads, but the outdated nature of the website. You now know that your funnel is working, its your shop that needs work. Its important for you to know exactly what metric you should use when judging the success of the program.
What do they provide for support?
Some coaches provide 1:1 support or have discounted follow up consultations if you buy their training program or package. However, it’s not unusual for coaches/consultants to not have any continuing 1:1 support after their program is over. Instead many of them will offer more affordable premium support groups(with monthly fees ranging from $25-$200). They may also offer a free Peer Support Facebook Group. Alternatively they may have no support options at all.
You may not have a preference for the level of post course support you receive, but if you do, its important to make sure to get that information up front, before you make a decision.
As you review more consultant websites you’ll no doubt determine your own list of questions to ask based on what metrics you find important. Until you get to that point though, these 4 should help you to quickly identify if a consultant or a program is right for you.
Congratulations on taking what I believe is the hardest step for any business owner! Identifying that you need help and seeing out the resources to find it. The guidelines above will help you to sift through all the consultants and coaches you found online and identify which of them will be the best match for you! Good Luck!