Business Coaches in San Diego- Choose Yours Carefully
A lot of people are cropping up calling themselves business coaches. The problem is that a lot of them do not have the experience to help you and in some cases can do more harm than good. Case in point is a meeting that I had today.
I had met a lovely lady at a Chamber event. She offers a service to businesses (that I won’t describe as this is a small city). We were exhibiting and she made her first smart move by not exhibiting, but rather walking to all the exhibitors and handing our her card. She had wanted to get to know SanDiegoBizLaw because she felt we could refer our clients to her. Fair enough. She made a good presentation and then we exchanged a number of emails before we could finally meet 3 weeks later.
As we are both a law firm and a management consulting firm, we are often asked for referrals to accountants, bookkeepers, SEO gurus, web designers, graphic artists, and a host of other providers. As we like to have an array of companies on our roster for referrals, we do not like to simply refer someone who has provided a business card. We meet with all of the potential referral sources one to one and ask them a variety of questions so that we know whether they can be of service to our clients. If they pass the test, which is whether ‘we’ would do business with them, then they end up on our referral base. However, we are ‘very’ picky and often will meet with up to 10 companies in one field before we find one that we are comfortable with, and sometimes we don’t find the right fit and keep on looking.
Let’s look at the facts. In her case, she offered a valuable service that we thought would help our clients. As I had been traveling a lot recently, it took 3 weeks before we could meet. We set the date at tonight, Friday October 7th at 7 PM. The meeting was in Del Mar; I came through rush-hour traffic from Mission Valley and had to make a stop in La Jolla. I managed to get all my work done and made it to the meeting place at 6:30. At 6:45 she called me and told me that she was running late by 15 minutes due to traffic. That is understandable. However, it should come as no surprise to her that there is traffic on a Friday. Then at 7:25 she called stating she did not know how to get there. She did not have a GPS, and did not bother to Mapquest it. She spent 10 minutes with a waitress getting directions and finally arrived at 7:40. I had to be downtown at 8:30 so I had to leave at 8:00; we had 20 minutes. Now the analysis.
She has a nice company name that makes her look like a large organization. She spoke a good line at the event at which I met her. I mentioned this to her and she explained that her business coach had advised her on a web site and a brand that would make her look like a large company. However, the mistake that the coach made was not training her on the most important part of everything…meeting the client, or client referral source. What’s the point in spending all that money on a web site and social media and the whole ball of wax when your personal presentation won’t pass muster? She wore a name badge with her company name that looked awkward at a restaurant. Her coach did not mention personal appearance and presentation. How about $100 for a gps? How about leaving 15 minutes early so you can be on time? A business coach of that nature is useless because in order to win any game in the world of business you have to get the WHOLE picture right, not parts of it. I got to know that her company is only one person and she does not want to grow. Why look big? Why not sell it as personalized service?
In either event, this whole package did not work. By 7:24 I knew I would not refer anyone to her. When she spent 10 minutes with the waitress getting directions, I was convinced. She made no apologies for being late or not getting directions. She did not offer me a drink, in fact I paid for hers and not even a thank you. Would you refer someone like this to your client? Beware of business coaches who can’t succeed in business and then coach others. See their resume and past successes before you spend your hard-earned money on these creative salespersons. It reminds me of one of my law school professors who very clearly demonstrated “Those who can, do, and those who cannot, teach”.