Is Your Overlap Lacking?

(Listen to this post, here.)

I was a little worried there for a while, but everything worked out in the end.

I had stopped into a local gas station yesterday to fill up. I was in the town of Milford, one of the few remaining places in Massachusetts where it is still illegal to pump your own gas (don’t ask, I don’t know either).

And so while the man was taking care of things, I grabbed my wallet from the center console.

Except …. my wallet wasn’t there.

Uh oh. Now what?

There are no dishes to wash, so what happens when they fill your tank and you’ve got no way to pay for it?

Fortunately, and before the filling was done, I located my wallet. (Apparently, some idiot had misfiled it in my front pants pocket.)

But I had already started thinking about what to do.

My solution?

I would leave my locked cell phone with the gas man while I went home for my wallet. This overlap between something that was high value to me, but of little use to him seemed like a handy solution.

Find Your Overlap

When it comes to deciding how and what to sell to others, overlap is an important concept to consider.

Ideally, you are looking for the intersection between things that are easy and/or inexpensive for you to provide, but high value to others.

For small professional service providers like you and me, one area that satisfies both of these criteria is “coaching.”

Not life or leadership coaching; I mean coaching others in doing whatever it is you do.

Take the simple example of a carpenter who builds decks. She could build the deck for you – and certainly, for most professionals of any type, “doing the work” is where we all begin when we first get into business.

But what if that same carpenter offered an additional option – coaching you, the homeowner, on doing it yourself.

It might work something like this…

Every morning, before you begin, the carpenter shows up at your house. She inspects your work from the day before, answers any questions you may have, and talks you through what needs to be done next. Then she leaves and comes back the next day.

The carpenter benefits because it’s fast (she could coach several people in sequence in the course of a single day) and it’s easy (she’s built hundreds of decks and knows all the ins and outs).

The homeowner benefits because it’s less expensive (if you do the work, the carpenter charges much less) and it’s instructive (when it’s all done, not only do you have a deck, you also know how to build one).

But wait just a second, you’ve no doubt just said to your long-suffering spouse. If I show someone how to do what I do, why would they need me?

Well, a few things to keep in mind:

  • Some people don’t want to do the work.
  • The deck the carpenter builds will be better than the deck built by the homeowner. The “high quality” people still want the “do it for me” option.
  • One deck doesn’t make the homeowner a carpenter. If coaching someone means “giving away your business,” you weren’t much of a carpenter to begin with.

In my experience, offering a coaching option of this type doesn’t cannibalize your existing business.

Rather, it makes you and your expertise, knowledge, and experience available to an entirely new segment of client – a segment that either doesn’t want or can’t afford your complete solution.

Here’s the bottom line.

When most professionals think about increasing their revenue, they focus exclusively on ways to acquire more clients and doing more of whatever it is they are already doing. That’s fine.

But an easier and faster way to expand is to take advantage of the “coaching overlap.”

By helping others do what you do, rather than doing it for them, you are using your existing knowledge (i.e., easy for you) to help someone else achieve a similar result (i.e., high value for them).

Time-Wasting Word Challenge:

In nine words exactly, summarize today’s newsletter.

Share your answer below…

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32 thoughts on “Is Your Overlap Lacking?

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      You have clearly moved into the lead, Laura! (Although as we have learned from the Olympics, it’s not over until it is.)

  1. Charlotte Davis

    Laura Kelly nailed it! Well done. But since I’m here, how about:

    (*EFY= easy for you and VFM = value for them)

    I know…all told, more than 9 words – but surely the explanation doesn’t count!

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Charlotte! I am not actually sure how to calculate your word count in all of that, but I like the sentiment and extra credit to you for inventiveness!

  2. Michael Mott

    You specialize in email newsletters for professional service firms.
    Unique stories help email newsletters stand out from others.

  3. Mark Wayland

    Thanks Michael. Today’s Overlap Offering stirred some memories… Back when I had a “real” (aka corporate) job I was at the end of a hiring interview for a new team member. I asked, “do you have any questions?” He said, “yeah, how do I get your job?”
    At best, some may say this person is confident, self assured, ambitious. At worst; too cocky, arrogant, or pushy. My reaction? “You beauty!” In fact this was my leadership credo… develop the team members’ skills so that I became progressively redundant… then I could move on to do things that I only dreamed of.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      I was hoping you had said, “Here, take it,” and walked out the door for good at that very moment!

  4. Maggie Schuette

    Teaching the Grasshopper – How coaching can increase your revenue.

    I admit, my 1972 TV show reference may get lost in translation.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      I think the grasshopper reference is seared into the culture at this point (hang on, I’ll ask a millenial).


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