I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no one is searching for a coach.
It doesn’t actually matter what kind of coach you are, people aren’t looking for you. If this doesn’t feel right to you, may I suggest that you go to Google’s keyword tool and spend a while searching for the keywords you think they’re looking for?
The numbers for those searching for a coach (life coach, business coach – search it, you’ll see) are vanishingly small.
If you then take account of some of the interesting things that coaches call themselves (I wrote a whole other article about it here), I can absolutely guarantee that hardly anyone is looking for you. Regardless of whatever you call yourself.
This then begs the question ‘if no one is looking for a coach, how am I supposed to find clients?’
Great question – I’m glad you asked.
If No One Is Looking For A Coach, How Do I Find Clients?
The reason no one is looking for a coach is that the majority of people have no idea what a coach is. Or what they even do.
Worse still, this majority think they know what a coach is, and they’re wrong. Which is why people say things like what’s so special about you that I’d pay you to show me how I should be living my life? (This is an actual comment made to a life coach I recently spoke to).
Let me tell you why it doesn’t matter that no one is looking for a coach; no one buys coaching. What people buy is the solution to a problem.
What Problem Do People Need Solving?
Your job as a marketer (which is what you need to spend around 10 hours a week on now you have a coaching business) is to ascertain the problem which the kind of client that you want to work with has, that is so problematic for them that they are prepared to pay you to support them in ridding themselves of it.
You don’t find this problem by asking people. They don’t know what problem they have that coaching can solve, because as we already found out, most people have no idea what coaching is.
You don’t find this problem by speaking to existing or previous clients, because it may be that your previous clients haven’t actually had the problem that you choose to focus on.
Let me give you an idea of some of the problems that our members work with their clients on:
- Wanting to change career, but having no idea whatsoever what they could do instead
- The need to feel ‘settled’ rather than being the continual nomad they were raised to be
- Having their pre-children career track back (they don’t remember saying that they were happy to be overlooked once they were mothers!)
- Wanting to resolve the problem of a difficult direct report, who thinks they know everything (without firing them!)
- Making an impact within their industry without killing themselves in the process
- Wanting to grow older without the massive physical impact of a difficult menopause
- Wanting to be able to talk things out with someone when they have no peers at work (C-suite coaching)
Curate Your Audience
Once you are clear – crystal clear – on what problem you’re solving and for whole, then and only then, you need to curate an audience. Without the audience, you’re shouting into the void.
So many coaches have chosen a niche and then started to market to that niche on social media whilst missing a vital part of the process – the ABC of marketing. Audience Before Content.
You can have the most laser-focused message in the world, but without spending time curating an audience, you’re not going to ever generate any interest in what you do.
By curating an audience I mean connecting with, or creating groups of, people with the same attributes as your ideal client. Then you have a space in which to cement your position as an authority in this area and to demonstrate to those with whom you want to work, that you understand their pain and better yet, you are the person to help them remove the problem causing it.
If any of this is making your brain hurt, might I suggest that you join Coaching Republic? It’s our free community for coaches who want to build financially viable coaching businesses. There are educational units available and a two-weekly (free) Masterclass, always on a topic that’s useful for marketing.
Better yet, if you’d like to talk to me about how this might work for you, my diary is here. A chat costs nothing and is always interesting. No obligation, no pressure, just an information sharing half hour chatting to a fellow coach.