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This episode is part of the series about lead magnets and how to make sure yours will help you enroll ideal clients who pay you well.
And, if you haven’t heard it yet, first listen to Does a Coach Need a Lead Magnet? at prosperouscoach.com/124. It’s super short.
When I started my coaching business, if you would have asked me my marketing approach I would have said “I let people know I’m a coach and offer a free sample coaching sessions to enroll clients.”
Everything I did reflected that basic misunderstanding about what effective marketing is — from the topics of public speaking I did, to the types of articles I wrote, all the way to the messaging on my website.
Did that approach work for me. Not a wit. Even though I got a lot of praise for the sessions, people who had a free session said “Thanks” but had no interest in long term coaching. And sometimes I fell into the trap of coaching them for many, many free session just hoping it would hook them in.
It took me a long time to realize why my mindset and actions weren’t paying off. But also it seemed most others coaches were doing the same thing so like a lemming I followed them off the cliff.
Two decades later, I’m a bit surprised when I look at coach’s website and see them trying this same approach. I feel so much compassion for them and I am instantly transported back to my own frustration early on – working so hard and not getting results.
Mistakes Coaches Make on Their Websites
There are loads of mistakes I see on coach’s websites and I have a whole series about client-winning coaching websites to help you with this, which you can find at prosperouscoach.com/websites.
One of the big coaching website mistakes, but by no means the biggest, is offering a free coaching session. Sometimes it’s high up on the home page. Sometimes it’s buried where it will never be found.
Either way, a free coaching session is not a strategic approach to enroll paying clients who are serious about transformation. A free coaching session is not a smart lead magnet.
- The coach cannot possibly demonstrate the real value of ongoing PAID coaching through a single free coaching session.
- It’s too soon to offer a live call.
This last point is my main point. Too much too soon makes coaching prospects turn and run.
Fast Marketing Only Sells Products Not Coaching Services
I admit I’ve purchased things through a single Instagram ad IF the unique value of the product is clear AND I’m already seeking a solution to the problem that product answers. That’s fast marketing.
But services, and especially paid coaching programs, aren’t easily sold through fast marketing. Coaching is still a relative unknown. Rarely do people seek it, but that’s just one reason why fast marketing techniques aren’t appropriate.
Think about it … what makes for an excellent coaching relationship?
- A good fit between the coach and client
- A growth mindset
Those things take time and repetition.
Coaching Relationships Are Intimate
The relationship between you and your client is intimate. Add to that the fact that time and money are invested to work with you. That increases the need for trust and fit.
So if someone arrives on your website and one of the first things they see is you offering a free coaching session, what happens inside that visitor?
Confusion. And a confused mind never buys. Let me illustrate this a different way …
Imagine you are in a grocery store line and the stranger in front of you turns to ask you out to dinner. A rare person would say yes because it’s too much too soon.
Maybe you’d go for coffee but probably not even that until you have enough of a sense of attraction and trust. How will the two of you get to that place? Time.
So, a free coaching session or even a free consult, is not likely to bring you paying clients unless you have first slowly and consistently built trust and helped prospects assess their fit with you.
You know how I build trust … you’re listening to it. Besides my free lead magnets, I publish a podcast episode every week showing how I understand you — your specific challenges and desires. And I deliver unique value through my voice, the way I care and the practical tips I provide.
Do all the people who opt in for my freebie and listen to my podcast weekly hire me? No. But those who feel the fit and trust me do.
That’s slow marketing. It’s authentic, non-salesy and honors us both.
Ditch your free sample session offer on your website and get behind the slow approach. Part of that is creating a lead magnet that builds trust while providing unique value. You’ll be amazed how it pays you back with ideal clients and a lucrative income as a coach – all without trying to convince people how great your coaching is.