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When coaches reach out to work with me, they almost always say that their biggest fear is marketing. They say: “I’m not good at selling myself.” Then I say, “Well, that’s okay because you don’t have to sell yourself to be a prosperous coach.” And I mean it.
This episode will be a huge relief.
Selling is Not the Same as Marketing
So, first, let’s distinguish between marketing and selling because they often get lumped in together.
Marketing is a part of your service. You relate to your ideal clients and let them know that you are here for them. You create a customer journey to attract the people you most want to work with.
It’s an ongoing process for anyone who has a business. And it’s not at all unsavory. In fact, it’s an authentic act of caring because you are a genuine human being with real value to offer.
Whereas, selling is transactional. It happens at a moment in time where you invite an interested prospect to become your client in exchange for fees.
It’s a professional necessity to enroll clients this way but you don’t have to be blatantly self-promotional to complete this transaction.
Blatant Self Promotion Isn’t Fun or Attractive
What does blatant self-promotion sound like coming from a new coach? I see this kind of thing on new coaches’ websites …
“I’ve trained and certified as a life coach and I’m ready to help you create the life of your dreams. I listen closely to you and without judgment. Then, through powerful questions I help you make mindset shifts and take powerful actions.”
It’s as if the coach is trying to write a resume and they aren’t really sure what to say yet because they are new to coaching. I did this on my first coaching website too because I didn’t know any better and it wasn’t at all effective.
What’s missing in promotional statements like these? Any relevance to the person who reads it.
Think about this. Did anyone wake up today wanting to hire a life coach to help them create the life of their dreams? Highly unlikely.
People are truly not that impractical. They don’t think in terms of abstract concepts like permanent utter happiness. They want to solve a specific big problem that has been dogging them. They want something very specific and if they want it urgently enough, they seek that solution.
A Better Way for Coaches to Attract Clients
That’s the opportunity for a savvy coach who has targeted a viable audience of seekers, researched their target audience, developed a smart niche and then speaks directly to the specific challenges and specific goals that are top of mind for that person in their marketing.
That’s how a coach grabs attention. It’s not through selling themselves.
I know, this seems like a subtle distinction, but when you shift your approach away from selling yourself and selling coaching to speaking your target audience’s language, you’ll have much better results.
You see, when you market, the spotlight should not be on you or your skills. It’s on your audience and what they want so much that they are out there looking for answers.
When you show up talking about what they care about then you’ve begun to build credibility.
Remember times when you’ve paid close attention and followed a thought leader and service provider? I bet you weren’t attracted because they were selling themselves. You felt they were credible because they understand you.
Do Learn How to Sell, But Don’t Sell Yourself
Look, I’m not saying that you won’t need to learn how to show your credibility and how to enroll clients to be successful. I’m saying it will not sound or feel like you are selling yourself. It’s not like lifting a megaphone and touting your greatness.
Aren’t you relieved? I know that when I discovered I didn’t have to sell myself I felt freed up. Sigh!
What does it feel like when someone is blatantly promoting themselves? For me it feels disingenuous. I don’t trust them. I feel on guard and pressured. I’m likely to not listen for long to their message. What does it feel like to you?
Now contrast that with a time when someone repeatedly understands what you’re going through, what you’re trying to do, what’s getting in the way of specific things you want and that there is a light shining a new way to get there?
It’s not really selling at all. It’s connecting. And that’s what people respond to.