Ep 7 – Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

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Show Notes

This episode might blow your mind. But I hope it OPENS your mind.

You’ve probably suspected the truth of this already. It’s been nagging at you but you haven’t known what to do about it.

Coaching is a hard sell.

You don’t want to have to sell at all, but you definitely don’t want to do a hard sell on people!

And, I hear you thinking …

“What the fork, Rhonda!

I’m a coach and you’re telling me

it’s not a good idea to sell coaching?

What else am I supposed to do?”

Bear with me, because there is an important mindset shift wanting to happen here.

Yes, it is a super valuable skill. It absolutely does help people transform. And we — you and I — are completely sold on the idea of it.

But most people are not.

The Origin Story Explains the Disconnect

To help you understand the disconnect between what we know and what our prospects don’t know, I’ll share what I call my origin story.

See if you recognize your own origin story in any of this.

I remember when the idea of coaching sparked in my mind and started burning like wildfire.

I was a Marketing Director of a small corporation. From the outside, it seemed like a perfect job. Great salary, good benefits, weekends off. My boss was the President and an engaging leader. I had authority and a lot of freedom.

Still, each day I came home from work feeling soul-less.

I felt sick on Sundays and dreaded the coming week. When I got home from conferences, I’d cry in the airport parking lot. I was so spent.

I decided I had to break free and deep down I knew that just getting another job wasn’t going to do it for me.

I summoned the courage to go to my boss and I told her I’d be gone in 6 months. In the meantime, I’d like to shift from employee to consultant, train my replacement and work from home 4 days a week.

To my surprise, she agreed to everything I asked. I think she valued me but knew somehow that I was a short termer.

Then, I had more bandwidth to consider what my next steps were.

During coffee with friends I asked what they thought my strengths were and we brainstormed entrepreneurial possibilities.

One friend said: “You’d be a good coach, Rhonda.”

A tingle zipped up my spine and in days I was immersed into a year long training program.

My life flipped over in the most exciting way.

Selling Coaching Comes Off Salesy

I became coaching’s best advocate. I became obsessed.

So you can imagine how confused I was when I talked to people about it their eyes would glaze over and they’d slip away from the conversation.

In a not very subtle way I was trying to convert them. To convince them that coaching was wonderful and that they wanted it.

In reality the only people who really wanted to hear about it were people who were thinking of becoming one themselves.

I’d argue that it is an even harder sell now because there is exponentially more marketing for services out there than there ever was.

And people don’t pay attention unless messaging hits every hot spot for them.

I wrote about topics like limiting beliefs and how to find confidence. There are sooo many articles out there on those topics so it wasn’t surprising those topics didn’t get read. I gave talks on similar topics at Chamber meetings and in libraries.

What happened?

Crickets.

Much later, when a few clients did enroll, they stayed no more than 3 months with me even though they said they loved working with me.

Obviously, I wasn’t earning well.

My problem was, that …

I Mistook What Coaching Is

It’s a skillset, not a solution.

But mostly it’s associated in most people’s minds with services for the elite or for corporate executives.

It sounds expensive but not in the same way as a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes or a two week beach vacation without the kids. People can easily justify those types of indulgences.

Hiring a coach doesn’t hit the desire button.

But people will also spend money on solutions to urgent problems. So this is the opportunity to …

Get Creative with Your Coaching Niche

Let’s say you’re a wellness coach. If you specialized in working with engaged couples you could offer these programs:

20 Weeks to Get Fit for Your Wedding

then later…

100 Days to Build Stamina for Parenting

and later…

120 Days to Lose the Baby Weight

Or, if you’re a career coach, you could specialize in working with women re-entering the work force:

4 Months to Land Your New Job

and

90 Days to Onboard With Confidence

Notice how each offer…

  • is geared to an urgent problem for a specific audience
  • doesn’t mention coaching at all

Once you have paying clients you’ll draw from your skills and tools to help them achieve their goals.

They’ll hire you because your messages and offers hit the mark.

This approach really works when:

  • you narrow your audience
  • the problem you’re speaking about is urgent for them, and
  • the outcome is specific with both emotional and tangible benefits

That’s also how you’ll be able to get and keep the attention of your audience long enough in this distraction-heavy marketplace to build a relationship and inspire them to invest in your programs.

Are you beginning to see how this could work for you much better than trying to sell coaching?

Now I know that hearing this could be a bit of a shock.

And it’s possible you might prove me wrong about this. If you’ve found it easy to be financially successful selling the type of coaching you learned to do, I want to hear your story and so do my listeners.

If, on the other hand, you’ve been stuck with a few happy but low paying clients, this mindset and approach shift could open all the doors and windows for you.

With this kind of focus for your business …

  • you know what to do day to day
  • you know how to find your audience
  • you know how to inspire them to open blogs and click links
  • you build trust and a fan base
  • you’ll know how to help your clients re-up for the next step with you
  • and you’ll build expertise quickly which can be leveraged into books, online training, masterminds and more

Want Help Making This Shift?

Grab a Strategy Session with me. It’s perfect for choosing your audience and nailing down your coaching niche. Or, if you’re already done a good job at that, we could brainstorm irresistible offers.

Let’s get your business on the right track so you can feel proud of it and earn well!

The next episode is 3 Crucial Parts of a Smart Coaching Niche