Subscribe to the Prosperous Coach Podcast
This episode is inspired by all of my wonderful clients … coaches who are so smart. They have so many skills and advantages. And … they still have to attract a steady stream of clients and that can feel hard.
I remember a couple of years into starting my coaching business having a regular walk with another relatively new coach friend of mine. We often commiserated about how most of our clients only stuck around for 3 months of coaching.
That meant we were in a constant state of chasing clients.
We felt truly clueless about how to find more clients. All the low hanging fruit had been picked — you know, the colleagues, friends, and friends of friends — people we already knew.
I’d had a sample coaching session with them all and few invested in a package. Those who did seemed to be constantly questioning whether they wanted to continue the investment. They said they valued our conversations. But they just didn’t get the long-term value.
My coach friend and I kept exclaiming with frustration … where are the clients who get coaching enough to invest in it?
That’s the same question I hear new coaches ask two decades later. The problem is, it’s the wrong question.
So there are layers to this problem of constantly chasing clients and I want to tease them apart for you.
It’s what you’re selling.
It’s how you’re selling.
It’s how you think about what you’re selling.
Chances are, if you don’t have a steady stream of clients finding you, then at least one but possibly all 3 of these need a permanent adjustment. And you’ll be so glad you did.
Coach, You’re Selling the Wrong Thing
Long since that agonized time of trying to find clients, things are very different for me. My ideal clients find me! And I don’t sell coaching anymore. “Finding clients who get coaching enough to invest in it” isn’t something I bother with anymore.
Why? Because with a shock, way back when, I realized that there just aren’t many people out there who understand the value of coaching. So trying to convince people to buy it is … well, misguided.
That’s why I recommend designing a Signature Program for your audience based on what you learn from them in market research. Will you coach your clients in that program? Yes. But you won’t sell coaching anymore.
Have you ever been on Facebook or Instagram and seen a gadget for sale and you think — I want one of those! Well, some smart person figured out a gap in the marketplace and filled it with that gadget. They knew it would be wanted.
Selling products is very different from selling services but what’s similar the way a human being responds when something unexpected solves a problem for them or something they want lands in front of them.
Coaching just isn’t that thing very often.
It’s so much easier to sell something to people that they KNOW they want!
This is probably a bit shocking to realize. Very few people are excited about hiring a coach. Most don’t understand what coaching is. And some have a negative opinion of it because life coaching got a bad rap back in the day.
Even now, occasionally in a movie or series, you’ll see how the write love to make fun of coaching. Also, most people think it’s beyond their means.
I often say to listeners, please go back to Episode 1 of Prosperous Coach Podcast and listen to my episodes in order. There’s gold back there. A seminal episode is Why Coaching is a Hard Sell. You can find that at prosperouscoach.com/7.
Take a moment. Open your mind. Know that your mind can be infinitely fluid and it can accept that paradoxical things can exist in harmony.
The paradox here is that coaching is a highly valuable skillset but it’s best to not even try to sell it to people.
The old metaphor I’ve had to help people understand this is … a carpenter doesn’t sell their tools. A carpenter sells the outcome that the tools create. If you want beautiful kitchen cabinets or a bathroom with reclaimed wood are you going to care what kind of tools the carpenter has.
No. You don’t care about the tools in their toolbox. You’ll look at their portfolio to see if their finished products fit your style.
Got it? Coaching is an amazing set of tools. And so, every coach thinks, “well I’ll throw up a website and make it all about coaching. I’ll have the word coach all over the place, in my brand, in my title — everywhere!”
And then … crickets.
That’s because most people do not KNOW they want coaching.
What do people know they want? Well that varies for each person. And that’s why I strongly recommend narrowing to a very specific audience and finding out EXACTLY and SPECIFICALLY what it is that they want so much they’ll invest to get it. What are their BIG problems and how can you help them solve them?
What you don’t want to do is pick a target audience and then sell them coaching. That’s ½ the way to the right direction but it’s still problematic, right? You will still chase clients and try to convince them to buy something they don’t know they want, which is heartbreaking.
How You Sell Matters
I even hesitate to use the word ‘sell’ because the truth is that the best coaching businesses don’t have to sell.
I’m lucky that way. Do I market? Yes. But in a non-salesy way. That’s because I strongly dislike hyped up promotion. It goes against my integrity.
I prefer to share with my audience through generosity marketing – which is this podcast. And I prefer to build relationships with my ideal clients so they reach out to hire me without me having to sell them.
I know this for sure, if I were still selling coaching I wouldn’t still be in business. But I have true and deep value to offer my audience that is custom made for them so through trust building my clients find me.
So shift from hard sell promotion to attracting. It’s a different feeling and result altogether. You’re NOT CHASING anyone. You’re trusting that your ideal clients will come to you by repeatedly and strategically putting out valuable messaging to them.
Your Mindset Matters
Stop chasing clients in your mind. If you’re chasing them mentally you’re also thinking they are elusive. Your clients are not elusive. They are plentiful. Build a relationship with them through your content, social media and more.
Call in your ideal clients. Put some ceremony into it. I myself am an active manifestor. I don’t just throw marketing out there. I think about how I want it to land. I think actively about who I want to call in. I’ll share more about that in another episode soon.
Another shift for you mindset. Don’t push. Pushing is the opposition of attraction. Also it’s unhealthy. I believe pushing feels like a hard sell to prospects – even if they don’t consciously perceive it. Pushing is like a bad smell that lingers.
Attraction takes time. So chill out. Give yourself time to attract ideal clients. Be mindful through the whole process.