Without exception, every coach I know wants to make a difference. That difference may be to people’s health, to their businesses, to their relationships, or their confidence; whatever difference they want to make the truth is, without clients, you can’t help anyone.
Make A Difference
I spent a day delivering a course recently, and one of the attendees was a nutritional coach. She was a quiet, serious woman who clearly knows her nutritional onions (pun intended!). This coach was telling me that her coaching pièce de résistance is a programme which lasts six weeks and, if followed correctly, can significantly improve the symptoms of some fairly horrendous complaints of the digestive system. Interestingly, she lit up when she was talking about it, she has seen some spectacular successes in her time. Further questioning revealed that she mostly delivers this programme for free ‘because my clients can’t afford to pay’. In short, she is a full-time coach, but she makes her money to live on in her part-time second job.
Other coaches I’ve spoken to have gained a coaching qualification only to find that they seem to stumble at the final hurdle. Coaches deliver a stunning first session to potential clients and become very enthusiastic about what the potential client wants to achieve. They so want to help the potential client because – and here’s the crux of it – the coach knows that it’s possible to achieve, the client doesn’t necessarily believe that.
The problem is precisely because the coach knows that any goal can be achieved, they want to demonstrate that to the reluctant client, to show them that they can succeed. For some reason, the not-yet-client doesn’t see the value of a coach. Perhaps they have tried and failed before, maybe they simply don’t believe they can achieve it. Whatever the reason, the not-yet-client doesn’t believe in coaching.
What often happens next is that the coach thinks ‘aha! I’ll offer to coach this client for free! That way, they achieve their goals and I have a fabulous testimonial in the bag. In addition, this client will be so thrilled with their outcomes that they will tell all their friends and colleagues and I’ll have a flood of new clients, lining up to work with me’. The coach tries to create belief in coaching by offering coaching for free.
Here’s the rub – it doesn’t work.
Clients who are being coached for free have a couple of business-altering flaws. One is that they don’t have the commitment to keep going when it gets tough, and it always gets tough. The other flaw is that if they tell people, they tell people that they have this fabulous coach, who coaches for free!
Coaches need to create belief. We have to create the belief that the client can succeed, that coaching will make the difference they need. To do this, we need to have a carefully crafted marketing presentation, which clearly demonstrates
a) the problem clients face (different for different types of coach)
b) the current, destructive behaviour pattern (the client will recognise themselves in this description)
c) the impact of this destructive behaviour
d) the way to avoid this behaviour and achieve the goal
There are a couple of places where a coach can fall down in this process. One is that coaches can get hung up on the idea of a ‘marketing presentation’. They want to be able to demonstrate the power of coaching by coaching, not by selling. The other place is that when they do have a marketing presentation, it doesn’t clearly demonstrate value to the client.
Mental Barriers Around Sales And Marketing
I’ve written a blog post about how much coaches don’t like selling. You can find it here. Some coaches feel that selling is somehow ‘grubby’ and that they shouldn’t have to do it. They feel that the power of coaching should speak so loudly, that clients will come to them. Sadly, it just doesn’t work like that.
Sales and marketing are a part of every successful coaches daily activities. It’s as simple as that. A marketing presentation isn’t necessarily something that has to be delivered as a formal presentation. If crafted properly, it can be delivered as a conversation. In fact, it is when it’s delivered as a conversation that it is at its most powerful.
How To Gain Paying Clients
Craft your marketing piece, deliver it professionally and then analyse the outcomes. Tweak where necessary and try again. That’s the secret to successfully marketing your own brand of coaching and gaining paying clients.
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