There are so many coaches these days that finding the right one is truly like finding a needle in the haystack. Ana Melikian, host of the MINDSET ZONE podcast and CEO of AMAZE Coaching, hated the idea of marketing and selling, but felt like if other coaches are doing it and they are making a difference in people’s lives, then she can do the same. When she reframed her mindset so that it was just a way of communicating the message, she started to see things from a different perspective. Ana’s mission is making a difference by helping other coaches really create an impact and for them to have a bigger ripple effect that will make a bigger difference.
Have you ever been in a place where you’re like, “I’d love to learn how to get more new clients?” I’ve heard of this thing called LinkedIn and it seems like there should be a lot of my right fit type of candidates there, but how do I go about being able to do that? We have an expert with us who is uniquely qualified to share with you how to be able to do that. Our focus here is how to go get more new clients using LinkedIn and the importance of implementation. Our guest expert is Ana Melikian and she’s the host of the MINDSET ZONE Podcast, CEO of AMAZE Coaching, and an Elite-Level Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach. Her podcast, MINDSET ZONE, was featured in The Huffington Post’s 15 Podcasts That Will Leave You Pondering Life’s Big Questions. It’s also been number one in iTunes’ New & Noteworthy in business, management, and marketing. You can find out more about her at Mindset.Zone. Ana, welcome to the studio.
Wonderful to be here. Thank you so much.
You got started in your business back in 2010. You’ve had this journey over eight years. I’m curious, as it relates to business in general and using online strategies like LinkedIn, what do you see as the biggest problem that most people have in getting new clients using a tactic or strategy like LinkedIn?
Spreading themselves very thin. Social media is very powerful and I work with a lot of coaches and consultants that have an online-based business or they work from home. Social media can be a great tool to have. For some of my clients, it could be Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn that’s the place to be. The question that you have to ask yourself is, “Where are my clients?” That is the place that you want to have a stronger presence. People say, “We have to have a Facebook presence and all of that.” I always tell them, “Yan lock the name if you have branding or your own name in many different platforms but decide on one platform.” For instance, you are not very active on Twitter, you can have your Twitter and to secure that custom name and have a note there saying, “I’m not very active here. Find me on LinkedIn.” That way, you are driving the traffic for where you are active and then you have to devise a strategy to be present and visible there because otherwise, you are a needle in the haystack.
It’s no fun to be the needle in the haystack. On your journey since 2010, why are you doing what you’re doing? Choosing to work and helping people get new clients through LinkedIn and implementation?
I’ve been in interesting journeys. I’m from Phoenix, Arizona and it’s very proudly my home now, but I was not born here. I was born in Portugal. I was raised there and I traveled. My background is Psychology and I went to do part of my degree in England. I then went to Spain to do a Master degree and I finished my PhD in England. I traveled in Europe quite a lot, but everything was Psychology. I was working in a private university there and have my clinical practice. One of the great things of the academic world when you are teaching is that you have to present papers and workshops, so we travel a lot. That is a great way of traveling. I love to travel. I then came to Phoenix to present a paper in December 2001. I met, in the hotel where we’re staying, the person that years later would become my husband. That was the reason why I came to Phoenix. He was working here in Phoenix in real estate, so we cannot change his buildings, but I could change my career. When I moved here, I thought that I was going to find a spot teaching in a university or open up my clinical practice. Then soon I realized that was much more difficult than I thought because the norms here of being a clinical psychologist are very different than Europe. I came up to the reality that I will have to redo my PhD and do a post-doc. I had finished my PhD. It was like I had finished a marathon and you go, “Do you want to run one the next day?” I like this, but wait, I need to rest. I was in that situation. What do I do with all the skills, all the training that I had before, all that I had invested in my career in this new situation? My personal life was going great, but my professional life suddenly become very foggy in terms of clarity where I wanted to go.
Then I found out this thing called life coaching. That is personal development and I love it. I always did a lot of training in personal development in my own training as a psychotherapist. I teach and advocate for this body of knowledge, these things that focus in personal development, to help people reach their potential. If you imagine a scale with zero in the middle and one side of the scale is -10 and at the side of the scale is +10. In my previous career in Europe, I was helping people that were in the negative side of the scale with depression, anxiety, the problems to get the functional life. The zero of the scale. I then found out this wonderful thing that is life coaching that allow us to work with people that are already out in the positive side of the scale. They have a functional life but they know that there’s a +10 somewhere out there. I find all these tools, all these resources, to help people live their potential. I fell in love with it. I got certified as a life coach. I did some training by the International Coach Federation to become a member and all of that. I was so energized. I was starting my family. We decided to have a kid that was my beautiful daughter now. I was going to work my home-based business to have more control of my time. With these great skills, I thought, “Perfect.”
I set up my website, and crickets. Where are the clients? In Portugal, by teaching in a private university, I had the credibility and the visibility. My marketing at that time was printing business cards with maps of where my office was. That was the marketing that I had to do. I was interviewed for a national magazine that gave me a lot of visibility and I didn’t have to do anything. I had the waiting list in private practice there so I was totally unprepared for the reality in the United States. There are so many coaches. It’s truly a needle in the haystack. However, I was seeing people being successful. If they manage to do it, there is a way and I can learn that way. I hate the idea of marketing and selling, but if they are doing a difference in people’s lives, I can do the same. Thus, I started to study sales and marketing. After two years, I start to say, “This is communication.” This is a way of communicating our message. I love that. I started to see things from a different perspective. From life coach, I became a business coach. I realized that if I help other coaches create an impact and not give up in the first two years that they become coach because that is what happens to a big percentage of them, I will have a bigger ripple effect and I will make a bigger difference that way, and here I am today.
If you’re listening right now, do you ever find yourself where you feel like you’re a needle in a haystack? Do you ever feel like, “If only people knew what I could do for them?” Maybe you’re sitting there struggling to get leads or struggling to get clients, or even struggling to get into a conversation. Maybe you’re in a place where, “I hate the idea of selling and marketing.” What if you shifted your mindset of what it really is? What if instead of looking at marketing and selling as this thing you push out to people and force people into, you looked at marketing as my buddy, Joe Polish calls it, “It’s storytelling.” What if you went one step deeper? I’m of the mindset today that marketing just might be a conversation. What if you looked at it like, “This is me extending a conversation in an automated way, or semi-automated way,” or even on one-on-one type of way. What if you could actually move from one-on-one to one-to-many in that conversation? How would that shift impact the way you thought about it? What if you thought of selling as just simply influence or helping dive the conversation? Think about that. If your mind is shifted that way, how would your business be impacted?
You’ve had this journey and the last several years have been immensely successful. You’ve struck gold, not only for you, but your lucky clients. What I’d love to do is explore some strategies specifically like if someone’s getting started and wants to leverage this platform called LinkedIn where there all kinds of business. Especially if they’re a coach, if they’re a consultant, if they’re an advisor, or influencers, how can they go out and leverage this incredible platform called LinkedIn? What do you say we go deeper and almost look at it like a coaching session? I will play me as the student in this example to put people in those shoes. If someone is new at prospecting per se, or if you don’t know what prospecting is, it’s simply going out and looking to find potential clients. Keep it that simple. What steps would you recommend for someone getting started using LinkedIn as a platform to go find their ideal clients?
You mentioned that are like a coach consultant that are starting a business. You have an incredible career in the corporate world. You got out because you are burned out at some of the things. You have this skill and you know that you can help other people and maybe even went to a coach certification. You feel that now you can go back and make a big impact and a big difference, let’s say, as a leadership culture, to give an example. If your target market is on LinkedIn, because that is the important thing that we always have to ask, “Is our target market there?” You want to work with small business, medium-sized organizations and that most of the time they are in LinkedIn because they find their people and they have some LinkedIn presence. You know that your target market is there. Then you are like, “Okay, let me put my resume on LinkedIn.” This is what most people do and is the first thing that you have to shift. Yes, if you’re looking for a job, dumping all your best things there is the way to do it. If you are a business owner that wants to find clients on LinkedIn, you have to see LinkedIn as your website. We have clients that don’t have a website and by leveraging their LinkedIn profile, they get clients.
You can see it as a way of starting a conversation with people. You have to focus in three elements of your LinkedIn profile. Is your photo still professional? Each social media has a different culture so you can be more fun in Facebook and in LinkedIn is your professional persona. That has to be represented there. You have to have a professional-looking photo. Then of course, your name; and then you have the LinkedIn headline below your name because the photo, your name, and LinkedIn headline go everywhere and follow you all around LinkedIn. When you comment something, when people are looking to other people that they relate to you, you see your photo, your name, and the headline. Also, instead of putting a professional category there, like I’m a business coach, a leadership coach, and they are a dime a dozen, why don’t you say something much more specific like I help these people get these results. That’s what we call in the Book Yourself Solid system the ‘who’ and ‘what’ statement. In my case, my LinkedIn profile says, “I help coaches and consultants win high-value clients using LinkedIn.” I’m always playing with my tagline there, so if you go and check, it’s different, but usually, this form of trying to say something about what I help people to do. If you are a coach and consultant, and if you want high-value clients, you are going, “Tell me more.” That usually earn me a click on my profile. If they see me everywhere, they click me there to go check me out because they are not going to sign a check right away, they want to check me out.
When they click and check on my profile, then I’m leveraging the summary section. That is a space after the headline, and now in the new version of LinkedIn, where you see a couple of lines and then you click for more. That is where people usually scroll a little bit. You have at the moment 2,000 characters there that you can use. You can use that space to start the conversation. You are not going to sell anything there. You want to start the conversation to show that you understand them and that you have experience. The call-to-action that you want to have there is “connect with me” or “contact me” That’s baby step. One baby step at a time. The three things are the professional-looking photo, the LinkedIn headline, and using the summary as a way of starting the communication. This is very important.
Why do I have high-value clients as the result that I offer? It’s because LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. Very powerful in developing one-on-one relationships, though it’s not the best place for one-to-many. You can do someone too many things, but it’s not where the strength is. Facebook is much easier to do one-to-many and mainly Facebook Ads at this moment. Even the Facebook groups are working very well. LinkedIn groups used to work amazingly well. Nowadays, not as much. We see that there’s a best return of investment of your efforts and time is on building one-on-one connections. It doesn’t make any sense to be building one-on-one connections for selling a product in the low end of the scale. You have to scale to sell a lot. However, if you are working with an organization with a small business or a company with whom you have a $50,000 contract, that makes peace with the time that you have invested in that one-on-one relationship.
If you are selling something that is high-value that people pay for because they are going to be able to convert what you are delivering to profits for our organization, then invest in a strategy on LinkedIn by starting to communicate in a way that makes sense to them, that shows that you know them and their problems, and you can show that you can help them.
Overall, I’ve seen different call-to-actions out there in LinkedIn. I’ve seen “connect with me” which is they connect through LinkedIn. I’ve seen some people put a phone number to contact them. What do you recommend that’s the most powerful call-to-action?
Let me start with what I don’t recommend. Don’t offer a free call. They thought that is value. You can put your phone number. Think that the meaningful baby step is “connect with me” because then you can follow from there. You can put your email and phone because some people prefer that, but don’t expect. Very few people are going to pick the phone and phone you. If I could only pick one, just say, “Connect with me and my email is.”
What actions could you take to update your professional profile, especially if you’re a coach, a consultant, advisor, and influencer? Update your photo. Come up with a better headline that has the who and what statement framework to it. Create a summary that starts the conversation and leads to a “connect with me” conversation. What if you did that alone and started reaching out to a few people? Three people a day is 21 people in a week to lead back to your profile, right?
Ana, we’ve got a good format for a profile. We get a photo, we get a headline with the who and what framework, we come up with a good summary to start the conversation, and a good call-to-action. What would be the next step for someone to take? Is it identifying if this person looks like they’d be a good potential candidate and reaching out to them or do you just sit back and wait for people to come to you? What do you recommend?
You don’t sit back there and wait for people to come to you. Please do not do that.
Do you mean the old idea of build it and they will come is not true in LinkedIn?
It is not the most effective way of being on LinkedIn. What you’re describing in the beginning, we have other elements there, but we want to have a strong foundation and credibility in the place. Nowadays, if you don’t have that, you can bring all the attention to you and if they go there and they don’t feel that there is a solid foundation, they go away. There are a lot of good offers out there so it’s a must that you have to show a strong foundation and credibility but that is the beginning of the process. In the coaching world, we have this image of the gap. In one side, you have to build a strong foundation and credibility. In the other side of the gap, you have these high-value clients. The question becomes how to bridge this gap. You can create a bridge with two arms or two sections. Let’s say that one section is asking and the other section is giving. You have to keep a balance in between. If you put too much in the giving, sometimes coaches are very giving people, they brought a lot in giving stuff and even giving free stuff away, that side becomes heavier and nobody’s going to cross a bridge that is not flat. You have to keep a balance in between. You have to learn how to ask. That is where I see the coaches a lot having problems with.
Coming back to MINDSET, which is a big part of what you do, you have this incredible background with psychology. There’s a huge difference as I perceive it between a coach who goes out and tries to earn clients and a coach or consultant or advisor who tries to simply add value to create opportunities. In my perception, one comes from scarcity. You have to earn. It’s even like taking time off. The reason I speak this is years ago, it would be I had to earn. Even though it was my own business, I can’t take time off when I wanted. I have to work hard to earn the time off. It’s scarcity versus when you add value to add value to create opportunities. What is your perception of that framing as far as mindset goes and looking at what you said that if you put too much in the giving, it tilts it? One of my good friends, Joe Polish, he picked it up from Gary Halbert, says the law of anything diminishes immediately upon its delivery. That tilt happens because, I don’t know if there’s too much as far as delivering too much value, but it’s delivering too much value the wrong way, right?
It’s the question of keeping the balance. There is nothing wrong with delivering a lot of value. The problem is that when that is not balanced with the asking. Working hard earning clients is a generation mindset of the baby boomers and the generation after the baby boomers. If we learn how to shift that to a more abundant mindset, it can make a difference.
What would you recommend as far as someone getting started to go out and add that value? The asking and the giving?
Keeping that balance of the asking and the giving. You have to have an asking strategy and a giving strategy. You have to start with your intention. I want to go back to the work hard earning clients and add value because it’s a small shift. You don’t have to do a 180-degree shift. Think about doing a two-degree shift. Imagine, one mile with that two-degree shift, you are going to finish in a totally different place, than when you’ve got to stay where you are before. Sometimes, it’s not a big shift that you have to do, it’s a couple of degrees. One mile later, you are in a different place. A hundred miles later, you are in a totally different place. Try to work your mindset a little bit to make the difference.
Ana, what would you say would be one to three strategies that someone could put in place to be able to go out and start asking, adding, or giving value, to be able to connect the dots here to potentially get more high-value type clients?
Let’s focus on the asking because that is where most people have more troubles with and that is the first step of that mindset shift that we were speaking about before. You can ask by adding value. Imagine that you have a network and start to look to the network that you already have. You want to give value to that network in many different ways. We even have a protocol, the Daily 7, and that is the ABCD of asking and giving to create conversations that will lead to clients. The A is about creating opportunities where you give something. The B is about being the connector. If you are the connector in your community, you connect people and that is giving value. You are a natural connector if you’re like, “I’ll introduce you to this person and this person.” We value that in our connections when we are introduced to relevant people. C is cultivating positivity. It is very important to cultivate positivity in our lives and the lives of others. D is to do direct outreach to reach out to people that we don’t know yet, but we’d like to know.
We can cultivate our network with these and then we can give referrals, we can give introductions, we can give testimonials, and we can ask and get that asking gear. Like a colleague of mine used to say, “Ask for a referral, ask for a testimonial, and ask for a review,” but when you give first, it’s easier to ask. You add value to your network and then you feel better in asking things. Like a strategical introduction, if you know that so and so knows a person that you want to connect, if we have added value in the past, you feel okay to go and say, “Can you introduce me to this person?” What is the worst that can happen? If the person says no, then no problem. You can do whatever. The other great thing about LinkedIn is the way you can search mainly using some of their filtering tools and the Premium accounts like the Sales Navigator, which allows us to do very specific searches. Once you identify the people that you like to be in front of, you can ask to connect with them. You don’t have to wait for them to connect with you, we can go ahead and ask to connect, but start slowly. Baby steps.
If in that first asking, you go, “I want to connect with you because I want to sell you something.” The other person goes, “No, that is too much.” Start with we have something in common. From location, to studying in same college, to connections in common, to what is a common thing. Start slowly and start to build the relationship. Like I always say, people online, their emotional and social intelligence goes down. I see lots of coaches that are very good in a social situation, a life situation, in networking events, or in a conference. If they meet someone during the break, they will never go saying, “Hi, my name is Ana. Do you want to buy from me?” They do that online. They lose the social cues and they do that a lot, so take the online and mainly LinkedIn as if you’re meeting somebody in person. You have to start with small talk and finding things that are in common and start the conversation. That will then lead to a conversation about what do you do, what you offer to your clients, how can I help you. By giving and asking that will happen.
Do you have a specific number per day that you recommend that people focus on to start building up a ritual and a habit or is it a couple at a time? What would you recommend there? I imagine that’s on our listeners and viewers’ minds.
We have a LinkedIn program that take people through all these process of getting that asking gear, getting those ask exercises for them, to identifying a hundred leads on LinkedIn. If they reach out to twenty per day, in five days, they reach out to a hundred. They can test their message that way. If you don’t want to or if you want to reach out to ten, then we’ll take you two weeks to do it. It’s important to have those numbers. We say that the ideal for coaches and consultants in terms of getting conversations that create clients is if you are having five per week or twenty per month. That is a great place to start. Aiming to have five phone conversations or in person conversations per week or twenty per month. When you start to know your numbers in terms of conversion, then you can adjust those numbers. If you want to have a metric, I have blocked in my calendar five spots for the week that I want to be outreaching to have conversations with people on the phone and that becomes my goal. If I don’t do it that week, I move it to the next week to have the twenty per month. I know if I’m doing that, I have a waiting list in my business, in my one-on-one.
That’s simple advice right there. You shared so much in a short period of time. How can people go deeper with you? Where can they go get your resources to learn more, to learn about these strategies, your implementation strategies?
I will give one of my emails, Ana@Mindset.Zone. IIf you email me, I have a great free one-hour training about LinkedIn that gives you the basic things. There is a call-to-action at the end of the free training about our group program, but we are very proud that you have lots of content there that you can apply straightaway. That we deliver value, you will give in order to ask at the end four people, “If you want more, you can join our program.” We try to walk our talk. Even if the email’s subject is LinkedIn Training, I will send you the link to the LinkedIn training there. I always say that everybody speaks about the mindset that we have. It’s like a muscle that we have to exercise and that is why I create my MINDSET ZONE Podcast. To create that zone where we can have mindset workouts. I have some interviews, but most the programs are episodes with the concept that I break down into small pieces and then bring together to allow us to see things from different perspectives. If you’re looking on iTunes for something that appeals to you, the mindset work, you can follow and subscribe to my iTunes podcast.
I would encourage you to go deeper with what Ana has been sharing with you. Email her. She’s given you an opportunity to connect with her directly and go deeper with the LinkedIn training, the one-hour training. What’s something I should have asked you that I didn’t get a chance to ask you?
About the implementation. I know that you spoke a little bit about the beginning, but we went with the LinkedIn thing and I love it because it’s something that people can do immediately. We are saying if people don’t have a number to follow, how many contacts to reach out to, how many calls to have per week, we have to have systems to help us to implement. There is a quote that I like, “The marketplace only rewards ideas that are implemented.” You are alluding this in the beginning that many coaches and consultants and business owners know somebody that is not as good as them and he’s having more success than them, they are doing more sales, and they are having higher prices. The only difference with that other person is he’s going and implementing and making it happen; and many of us, and I’m putting myself in that group, we are more perfectionists. We are so proud in what we do that we want to do it very well to give the best service and the best product that we can. We have to find the right balance. We still want to give the quality that we are proud of, but if that quality becomes an excuse for us to procrastinate, we have to find a mastermind group, anything that helps us to move from being in that creating ideas mode to the implementation mode.
How many ideas do you have sitting on your desk or sitting in your head or sitting in a notebook somewhere that haven’t been implemented? If you want to bridge that gap and you want to move from idea to implementation, then I would encourage you to reach out to Ana as well. She can help you. What were you known for in high school?
I was a nice student in high school so I was known for that. To be one of the best students in high school was good for my self-esteem and for me to be able to choose the university that I want and all of that. Everything has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is self-esteem. I learned how to research, to study, and to face a problem as a challenge. I can solve these. I have to focus here and make it happen. At the same time, I also feel a little bit the perfectionist in me.
I find this to be a very common trait in a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners who have this perfectionist trait and having a hard time sometimes letting it go. If you want to grow, let it go. That’s one thing to let go. There might be other things too, but the perfectionist mindset is certainly one of them.
Another trait of many entrepreneurs is we have lots of ideas. I always say to my clients to write the ideas down, create mind maps or a journal, and put ideas on paper. When they come across your mind, you want to put them somewhere. After so, note that you cannot execute all of them. Pick one idea and go run with it. Focus on it and make it happen.
Focus on it, make it happen. Take action with what Ana has shared with you. We encourage you to go check out her LinkedIn profile. She gave you a three-step blueprint to update your profile and how to create a good call-to-action to start the conversation. She gave you a blueprint that she called the ABCs of getting clients and it’s about implementation, isn’t it? Ana, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you here with us.
This was very fun to be here.
I encourage you to go deep with what Ana has been sharing with you. You can do that at Ana@Mindset.Zone. You get access to her free one-hour training to get more new clients. You can also learn more from her directly about how you can implement more. I challenge you to take action. In order to get a breakthrough, you’ve got to be willing to break something. Let’s break out of the past. Let’s break out of old habits, old rituals, old behaviors, and let’s create some new ones. You’ve been given an incredible gift to go out and create some new ones. Seize the day.
Ana Melikian is the host of the MINDSET ZONE podcast, CEO of AMAZE Coaching, and an Elite-Level Book Yourself Solid® Certified Coach. Her podcast MINDSET ZONE is featured in The Huffington Post “15 Podcasts That Will Leave You Pondering Life’s Big Questions,” and during its launch, reached #1 in iTunes’ New & Noteworthy in Business, Management & Marketing, Health, Self-Help, Education, and Training. You can find more about her at MINDSET.ZONE