He told me I was a thief—after a coaching call no less. Tom said that based on his first coaching call, he had figured out how I was trying to rip him off. To him, I was a fraud.
I took it personally. It bothered me for weeks, and it cost me a lot of money before I figured out what was happening.
Most of my coaching calls are with advanced info-marketers, working with them to establish business systems or reviewing financial statements for opportunities to increase the amount of profit they get to keep from the revenue they generate. But I also have a fair number of calls with beginning info-marketers. I feel like it’s my duty to give back. Even though there are books and products on info-marketing that didn’t exist when I was trying to figure out this business, I see it as a duty to accept new info-marketers who reach out to me to help them get started.
Tom had read the second edition of the Official Get Rich Guide to Information Marketing and loved it. So he set up a coaching call with me for help turning his expertise into an info-business. Tom was a single dad and a private investigator in Michigan. In addition to his work as an officer, he had set up a private investigation firm with a unique marketing system to generate customers. He told me his revenue numbers, and I asked him, “Are those numbers something other private investigation firm owners would be impressed with? Would someone in neighboring states look at your results and say to himself ‘Wow, I want to figure out what he’s doing’”?
At that, my coaching client told me, “No.” Since Tom’s revenue still had some room for improvement, we outlined a plan of action that included several additional marketing techniques to boost his revenue and profit in his private investigation firm. We wanted to create a business others would envy. We combined the marketing plan with a timetable of action steps, plus we outlined how Tom would launch an info-business when it came time to do that. I thought it was important for him to see there was light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted him to know that while he’d be working hard to keep up with the new clients his marketing would be generating, there would come a time when he could be generating some “work once, get paid many times” money from an info-marketing business.
During our call, Tom seemed pretty impressed. But then he called back and spoke my associate, Suzanne. He gave her an earful about how awful I was and how he had discovered I was a fraud.
I got all this information secondhand, but from what I understand, Tom was disappointed that I had suggested he invest time in his current private investigation firm. Since I was an info-marketing coach, Tom thought I should have discussed only info-marketing. By giving him strategies for his private investigation firm, Tom said I had used bait and switch. I had gotten him excited about info-marketing but then worked with him on his current business.
This really impacted me. Even though I had delivered everything I had promised, I gave Tom a refund of his coaching fee as well as everything else he’d ever paid me. I also put him on my “Do Not Contact” list so he can’t buy anything else. But still, I took this personally and thought about this call for several days afterward.
I believe in demonstrating results above all else. It’s fine for you or me to have a theory about a marketing system that could work for a type of business to generate a great income. It’s another thing entirely to build it, test it and prove that it works. It’s my opinion that we should sell only what’s been proven to work. That’s my differentiator in what I write and teach, and it’s what I encourage my coaching clients to do. This guy had a marketing system, but he hadn’t proven that it generated a remarkable amount of money. I wasn’t going to suggest to Tom that he invest the time and money to present his idea to the market until he had proven it would work.
The next day I had a speaking engagement out of town. During the trip I reviewed my coaching call with Tom several times and argued back and forth with myself about how I had handled it. Could I have done something different to reach this person? While I don’t like being called a fraud, it upset me more that, as a coach, I hadn’t identified Tom’s objection during the call and addressed it with him.
Regarding my speaking engagement, I had disappointing results. My sales were lower than they should have been, so this only compounded my overall frustration.
Then it occurred to me. I was letting this guy drag me down to his level. The whole day I had focused on one failure. Maybe it was my fault or maybe this was just a negative person who wasn’t ready for coaching. Either way, by dwelling on it, I gave it power to do damage inside of me. Like a virus, it silently infected my thinking and my presentation.
In our coaching programs and in our lives, we’ll often encounter negative people. The more work you do, the more people will criticize you. Some of them will be strangers, others will be people you thought were friends and some will be former clients.
If you focus on the criticism, it will make you weak and tentative. Instead, focus on the positive results you generate.
That’s what I started doing. Before I left for my trip home, I opened my calendar and wrote down the names of my other coaching calls that week. During my flight, I thought about each of those calls, the results those clients have generated working with me and the opportunities those clients have had. I focused on dozens of great results and breakthroughs I’d helped to create rather than on the one critic. By the way, I used the name Tom throughout but that’s not his real name to protect his confidentiality.
Each day you are producing great results for people. You are helping them solve their problems and create breakthroughs in their lives. The moment you feel criticism impacting you, snap out of it. Invest some time thinking about the successes you are generating and the people you are helping. Focusing on your successes and your breakthroughs will keep you growing and achieving.
I appreciate you. I am so blessed to have such good friends, members and clients. It’s been a great year so far for all of my clients and I want to say, thank you for the opportunity to serve. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday.
What do you think? Have you had people criticize you? What do you do to get past it? Do you disagree and have a better way? Scroll down to the bottom of the page to leave me a comment. I read every comment and reply when appropriate.