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Beware the tactics trap!

Beware the tactics trap

Michael refuses to offer a free trial consultation. "They can read my articles or ebooks," he shrugs. His business is booming.

Marilyn offers her clients a full half-hour of free consultation. She has few takers.

Michael and Marilyn send high-quality articles to ezines. Michael's opt-in list is growing. Marilyn's opt-outs out-number new subscribers.

Michael and Marilyn promote ebooks on their sites with dazzling "buy-me-now" sales letters. Michael's ebooks fly off the auto-responders. Marilyn's gather cyberdust.

What's going on?

Michael helps clients make money on the web. He's been around longer than any of his three major competitors. He promises benefits like, "Double your sales in thirty days!" or, "I'll help you write an ebook in forty-eight hours." Ebook marketing is a top-ten "hot" topic on everyone's list.

Marilyn is a life coach, offering a me-too product in a competitive -- perhaps saturated -- market. Even if she offers the ultimate benefit -- a perfect life -- she'll have a lot of competition. And "career strategy" or "life transition" doesn't make anyone's hot-topics list.

Marilyn has to find a niche that truly values what she can offer. Her target market may not be searching on the web. She may be able to reposition her services to avoid competing with the "perfect life" coaches.

Now suppose Marilyn asks Michael for help.

Ideally, Michael will say, "You're not ready to work with me. I can't help you with a marketing plan. I know what I did -- but you're in a different market."

More likely, Michael will take Marilyn's money. They'll wrestle with web copy, ebook titles and sales letters. Michael will encourage Marilyn to follow in his footsteps: no free consulations, more free articles.

When Marilyn's sales remain dismal, Michael shrugs, "I've done my part." And, in a sense, he has.

Tactical consulting works when you have solid evidence that a market exists for your product. You know your target market will truly value the benefits you offer and will express their valuation by taking out their credit cards.

Before you reach this stage, a tactical consultant or coach may actually harm you. Inappropriate tactics cost money and divert your energy from more profitable paths.

Listen to your intuition. If you sense, "There's something wrong with this picture," pay attention.

If you believe, "There's an untapped market out there," investigate further. Some markets have needs but lack motivation.

For instance, several million people relocate each year. They make bad decisions because they're under stress. However, moving makes people feel poor. They'll borrow a twelve-dollar book from the library to avoid shopping at amazon. I learned that the hard way with my own book, Making the Big Move.

Bottom line: Go slow and hide your credit cards. Until you find a market that will buy what you have to sell, your best advisor is your own inner wisdom.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast move to career freedom. Visit her site http://www.movinglady.com or call 505-534-4294.


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