Ep 66 – How to Describe Your Coaching Program Without Selling Coaching

This episode, which is part of the Coaching Business Checkup series, is going to be short.

You’ve probably noticed that there are overlapping themes in this series episode to episode. That’s because strategy intentionally connects one thing to another.

Here are the repetitive themes:

Forgive me for the repetition but it’s not possible to talk about one strategic action or decision without mentioning what goes before it. Strategy is about connecting dots. It’s about congruence.

If you can remember these themes in all you do for your coaching business, you’ll experience a dramatic shift in your ability to attract enough clients who pay well.

Strategy – The Many Layered Cake

So I’ve been making a many-layered cake for you.

We started with the strategy of choosing a viable target audience full of seekers and then moved onto the central task of developing a smart niche — centering on a big enough problem your audience faces.

Now, if you are continuously visible out there speaking your audience’s language about their big problem and show that you have a solution without being salesy, they will pay attention.

That’s what will compel them to go to your website where hopefully you’ve got streamlined copy speaking about what’s most important to them there as well. And then you gently point them to a couple of conversion processes you have your site.

A clue … that’s NOT inviting them to a free sample session or Discovery Session.

That comes later when they are more ready for it. You don’t want to push people to next steps. Lead them instead.

You need to have everything ready for them before they arrive.

And when they arrive you want them to know they are in the right place.

That’s why your website should NOT be about the wonders of coaching.

Instead it’s about what’s keeping your specific audience up at night and what’s in the way of the big thing they want.

Okay, I’m getting off track from my goal here. You see how everything is interconnected and strategic?

This episode is not about how to create a client-winning website. It’s about something you create before the website …  your signature system.

What’s a Signature System and Why Should You Have One?

Why would I call it a system?

Because when humans perceive that there is a structure — a framework to get what they want — they relax. And trust builds.

Your Signature System is the way you describe what you do so that your audience can see clearly:

  1. That you understand them.
  2. That you have a structure they can lean into.
  3. That you know what you’re doing.

In a non-salesy way, your system is connected directly to their exact situation — what specifically has been in the way of them realizing their most urgent goal.

Do you see now why you need to know the big problem you solve before you can move to this step?

In your system you name the specific milestones that your audience has wanted to achieve but they’ve been stuck for some reason and unable to move forward.

Remember my niche and the big problem I solve for coaches? That smart & profitable coaching niche has been illusive and without that solved they can’t really move forward. It’s painful and frustrating.

Why Doesn’t Your Signature System Mention Coaching?

Because it muddies the water and distracts them from what’s meaningful to them.

Coaching isn’t what’s meaningful to them. It’s the big and small, tangible and intangible ways they’ll grow and benefit from working with you that’s important now.

When you share your system with them in a Discovery Session you want it to be so spot on that they feel like it’s exactly what they’ve been seeking and didn’t even fully know it until just this moment.

You’ve ticked all the boxes. You’ve covered all the most nagging challenges they’ve been facing.

Your Signature Program is based on this system. But that’s getting ahead of myself again.

For now, I hope you take in that you can articulate what you do in a non-coachey and non-salesy way that inspires investment through trust and context.

In the Next Episode: What is Your Coaching Business Model?

Ep 65 – Are You Solving a Big Enough Problem In Your Coaching Business?

This episode is part of the Coaching Business Checkup series.

If you’re not attracting enough paying clients to sustain your business there could be several reasons why. The episodes in this series are designed to help you isolate what needs attention.

But don’t let these errors move you to give up on your coaching business unless you’re truly done with the dream of being a successful coach and helping loads of people with your unique talents.

To Succeed You Have to Be Willing to Flail and Fail

I encourage you to be willing to make mistakes and realize they don’t define the possibility of your future success.

Jumping out there without strategy is a time honored mistake. Nearly everyone makes these mistakes if they are willing to risk success.

On the other side of this is the person who does not risk anything and misses out on the chance to learn from their mistakes. And those are the folks who may regret staying in the safety zone.

The Big Thing Holding You Back From Financial Success As A Coach

For this episode, I’m going to dig into the most common problem that holds coaches back from attracting enough clients and earning well:

There’s not enough people inspired to invest in your services.

You are no doubt talented, capable and truly effective as a coach. But that goes wasted if you can’t attract the attention of your audience and inspire them to invest.

What can you do about that?

Well, so many things! For now I’m focusing on one.

Let’s say you have chosen a target audience and they are SEEKERS — people who do invest out their own pocket to grow personally and professionally.

The next thing you do is to define your coaching niche, right?

And this is the place where you might be inclined to totally wimp out. I did when I started.

It’s partly because fresh out of coaching training there’s still this glow about the value of coaching that can blind you to effective ways to attract paying clients.

Have you romanticized the notion of coaching that you believe people know they want it?

Most people don’t think about coaching as a solutions. That’s why coaching is a hard sell.

So, at this starry-eyed moment in time instead of niching down, you niche widely or niche weakly.

Niching wide is choosing a broad coaching audience and naming an overarching abstract outcome.

I help women create a more fulfilling life.

OR

I help business owners become successful.

Another way to wimp out in your niche is to simply identify your track.

I’m a career coach.

I’m a leadership coach.

I’m a life coach.

I’ve seen many coaches list all or several coaching tracks on their websites. The lack of specialty does just the opposite of what the coach hoped — it turns potential clients away because they see a lack of commitment and focus.

And example of niching weakly is focusing on coaching topics as the specialty.

I’m a confidence coach.

I’m an empowerment coach.

I help you breakthrough limiting beliefs.

I don’t think people wake up in the middle of the night and say to themselves … you know what I need? I need a coach to help me breakthrough limiting beliefs.

Everyone has limiting beliefs. Any coach or mentor can help individuals past them. But it doesn’t inspire investment except for a few sessions at low prices.

These aren’t big enough problems to bring you a steady stream of clients who are ready to invest.

I niched widely and weakly at first! I didn’t know better. Now, I hope to save you some of my flailing and failing.

Fully Commit to Standing Out with Your Specialty

Notice I didn’t saying standing out with your coaching specialty? Let’s take the coaching piece out of the equation. That’s your toolbox — a skillset you’ll use to help your clients — not what people will buy.

If you intend to be a successful coach in the long run, commit to targeting and niching down strategically and then follow through with that in everything you do. Don’t let your website copy be dumbed down by focusing on the wonders of coaching. Focus on your specific target audience and what’s keeping them up at night.

Make it so that there is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind who you serve, the big problem you help them overcome and the big goal you help them reach.

Define Big Enough

When you’re looking for a dynamic profitable niche, you have to step out of thinking like a coach and step into thinking like your audience. (And this is the best way to create everything for your business and do all your marketing by the way.)

It takes a bit of mindfulness and practice. Here’s the question to ask yourself:

What specific problem will prompt my audience to go looking for solutions with their credit card ready?

Think about all the times you’ve invested in something that was pricey. What made you pay the big bucks for a service even though you knew you were spending a lot?

No doubt it was something that felt crucial for your future.

The Gap Between Pain and Pleasure

You’ve heard about pain points before. Some problems are annoying. Some problems are a hassle. You’re looking for the problem that is acutely painful.

It’s the gap between what your audience wants and where are they are now. That great longing for something that’s been elusive because there’s a big, fat problem in the way.

The thing is the way is usually the individual.

Big enough problems fall within just a handful of categories associated with a fundamental want:

  • money
  • career
  • power
  • love
  • healing

Here are a few coach’s niches. Notice how they fit into one of those 5 fundamental categories.

Helping HR leaders gain more impact and influence in their organization.

Helping moms with a long career gap find flexible work they enjoy.

Helping people with fibromyalgia feel better get their lives back.

Helping parents support their kids with ADHD to excel in school.

Helping wives of civil servants create space for a career of their own.

Do you see how these big problems and desired outcomes would inspire investment?

If you’ve chosen an audience and you think you’ve arrived at a big enough problem to solve, pause to ask yourself:

Would I buy high-ticket services to help me overcome this problem?

If not, dig in deeper.

And if you want help identifying your audience’s big problem and developing a smart business foundation that attracts ideal clients, you know where you can find me: https://prosperouscoachblog.com/work-with-rhonda

In the Next Episode: How to Describe Your Coaching Program Without Selling Coaching

Ep 64 – How to Strategically Choose Your Coaching Niche

In my last episode I listed off 10 Ways To Be More Strategic In Your Coaching Business as an overview to my next 10 episodes.

In this episode I’m focusing on the FIRST way to be strategic in your coaching business. In other words, strategizing this step is what you do before you do anything else — website, offers, social media marketing.

What is this #1 way to be more strategic? Choose a viable coaching niche, of course.

This episode and the other 9 to follow are all part of my Coaching Business Checkup series. I will have a free downloadable Coaching Business Checkup for you at the end of this series, so stay tuned!

One Decision That Rules Them All

MBAs and business experts agree that if you niche your business in a strategic way from the get go you’ll dramatically increase your ability to succeed and sustain success.

And that’s truer than ever in this information age where there are more entrepreneurs and companies flooding the Internet with marketing messages every day.

You can’t attract clients if you can’t attract attention.

And attracting attention is mostly about standing out in some way. Standing out in your niche – what you do for whom is the easiest way to stand out.

If you want your message to get through to people who could become your clients, then you want to speak to a very specific group of people about what they care about most.

Strange isn’t it?

The more specific and focused your message is on a unique target audience and the big acute problem they face, the easier it is to engage people and build relationships of trust. And then enroll them.

You know, coaching niches are my super power.

I decided to strategically focus on this big problem for coaches 17 years ago because all around me I saw that coaches were utterly confused, frustrated, and in many cases, paralyzed by the niche decision. For many it’s what had them give up for good on their business.

So for coaches the agonizing question — WHAT IS MY NICHE? — is the most acute big problem they have. And it’s related to attracting enough clients who will invest. That’s the other acute problem coaches face.

And I know that once that niche piece is settled it opens up ease in all the steps that follow – messaging, offers, marketing – it all becomes a more graceful and intuitive process once you know your niche.

It was a smart strategy then for me to focus in on coaches — my target audience — and on the topic that’s most painful for them. I could pull in my background knowledge in marketing and my experience writing coach training curriculum and training new coaches. It’s a good fit.

I wanted to tell you how I came to my niche to illustrate the strategy behind it. It’s not rocket science but it was a thoughtful process. And that’s what strategy is.

Many coaches miss this crucial step of choosing a smart niche. It’s partly because of a misunderstanding of what makes for a successful coaching niche. And partly, it’s fear.

Can you relate to that?

  • Maybe you fear that you don’t know enough to specialize.
  • Or, you might fear narrowing to one group and excluding others. (Although exclusion isn’t really necessary because targeting an audience is about ease in marketing not exclusion or limitation of who you can have as a client.)
  • Or you might simply fear making a decision and committing to it.

All of these are understandable fears.

But here’s the thing that I remind myself of when I’m fearful. Fear rises up when you’re at an important threshold. It’s how you respond to fear and still move forward on your dream that builds courage and confidence. Moving forward decisively is the way out of fear.

What is a Coaching Niche?

A coaching niche is the intersection between a viable target audience + their biggest problem/desire + what you bring to the table to help them get there.

Let’s break this down.

  1. There’s a specific group of people who are seekers. (They do invest in their growth.)
  2. They have a big acute problem that is in the way of something they really want.
  3. You can help them solve it and reach their goals with your toolbox of talents & skills

And so, once you’ve chosen that niche, you conduct a bit of market research and then create messaging and offers that fit their top challenges and goals bringing your supportive skills and tools to the table.

Now, let me illustrate how choosing a niche can be strategic using examples of niches my recent clients have chosen with my help.

Here are two that are directly related to specific subject matter expertise or recent professional background that the coaches could leverage in their niche:

One coach helps parents empower their teen daughters to develop confidence, integrity and resilience. She has a Masters in Clinical Social Work plus experience working with teens professionally, and 3 teens of her own. Her niche is a great fit.

Another coach helps executive assistants break through the limitations of their role and advance to the next level. She has 8 years of experience as an EA and a string of promotions that rewarded her ingenuity and excellence in her roles. Her niche is a great fit.

Another coach with over 20 years experience in nursing and health care is focusing on helping nurses heal burnout and work differently.

Leveraging your recent experience or expertise is the most powerful way to niche.

But not all coaches have subject matter expertise. Instead it may be that your current life circumstances could become an ideal niche. For example:

One of my clients stumbled unexpectedly into being a father and a husband. It happens. In the thick of that he realized it’s a common and difficult experience for young men. So he’s targeting that group to help them find grounding and maturity in the upheaval. A heartful niche based on a personal context.

Another coach decided to work with women re-entering the workforce after a long gap raising children. She knows first hand the challenges that come with finding flexible, meaningful work after a big career gap. And as a bonus we realized her Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology related to employee recruitment and selection processes was a bonus point of relevance and skill related to this audience. A super helpful niche!

A client who recently turned 49 felt called to remake her life from the inside out and create an intentional journey moving toward 50. So she’s targeting women at 50 to break free and rewrite the rules of their lives. This is a personally motivated niche.

It’s rare that targeting a specific age makes for a good niche but after market research it was clear that 50 is a point in time for women that’s rife with so many physical & emotional challenges and creative yearnings. And we were able to create a transformational program for women at 50.

So you can see there are different ways to approach choosing a niche. The main thing is to think it through strategically.

Remember, don’t just sell coaching to a general audience. Instead, create a program with milestones to help a specific audience overcome specific acute challenges on the way to an ultimate goal.

That’s how you’ll become known quickly and attract a steady stream of clients who pay well.

Coaching Niches That Lack Strategy

Topical niches can be powerful if they are closely linked to a tangible outcome that a specific group has. For example, I’ve known coaches who focus on helping business owners create systems or coaches who focus expertise in something like the Enneagram to help corporate leaders master leadership in a personalized way.

But some topics bomb as a coaching niche:

  • Stress
  • Limiting Beliefs
  • Overwhelm

I’m guessing those topical niches bombed primarily because these challenges are usually chronic problems. They are challenges that people are used to living with and so they aren’t inspiring people to actively seek and invest in solutions.

All coaches can help any existing clients with things like stress, limiting beliefs and overwhelm. But in marketing messages and on websites these topics tend not to inspire enrollment except for a short engagement at a low price.

It’s missing a specific target audience and their ultimate outcome as an anchor point. But even if you did attach one of these chronic problems to a target audience and their goal, it may not feel acute enough to the audience to inspire investment.

Similarly, big overarching goals or life skills can bomb for the same reasons above:

  • Self Care
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Law of Attraction

If you search for topics like these on the Internet you’ll find millions of articles on them. Great support for free but not likely to result in paid engagements with long-term clients. And if clients are short term for low fees, it means you have to work with a lot more people. And that means more marketing and enrolling moments for less income and profit.

Strategizing a smart niche for a viable audience isn’t a needle in a haystack kind of equation. It’s more like the beginning of a jigsaw puzzle where you try to find the opening move that quickly builds momentum.

If you’re stuck and struggling with your coaching niche, let me help you over this wall.

Let’s have a Strategy Session. It will focus you in and give you direction for everything else you create in your coaching business. It will help you stand out the crowd and build your brand & reputation.

I’ll send you some exercises to start then we’ll spend 90 minutes brainstorming on the call. I’d love to work with you. Sign up!

In the Next Episode: Are You Solving A Big Enough Problem In Your Coaching Niche?

Ep 63 – Ten Ways To Be More Strategic In Your Coaching Business

In the last episode I talked about high payoff actions you can take in your business. High payoff actions are the ones that get you the results you want.

Those actions are always strategic – based on a strategy that you’ve thought through.

In this episode, which is the 2nd in the series called Coaching Business Checkup, I’m going to talk about the top ways for new coaches to be strategic in their business.

No Strategy is a Slow Strategy

I was thinking about this recently … when did I begin to be more strategic in my coaching business?

It began when I targeted a viable audience and figured out what they want so much they’d invest in my help to reach that goal.

That was my first point of strategy. That’s #1 because if you don’t target a viable audience no other strategy after that will work.

Embarrassingly, it was only after my 2nd coaching website and after my 3rd year in business for myself that I began to think more strategically.

And wow how it paid off. And how I wished I’d been more strategic from the beginning, but I didn’t know how.

Before that I just flew by the seat of my pants, which is a strange saying but we all know what it means.

Looking back I have to laugh at myself a bit, thinking that I could have a successful coaching business without strategy. But I’ve always been someone to jumps in headfirst. Now when I jump in head first, I’m actually using my head by being strategic. But it’s not fair to compare what I know now to what I knew then.

I was blessed in so many ways — still am — by serendipity.

So many angels and surprises came my way in the form of opportunities and wonderful human beings that gave me a helping hand.

I would never have leaped to the idea of helping coaches, first with their coaching niches, had I not been tapped to be a trainer in a coach training company.

And after a year, I was asked to rewrite the curriculum of that organization called Coach Training Alliance. They’ve been using that curriculum for 2 decades. It’s a wonderful coach training school.

Because the owner gave me an opportunity, I learned that I was good at taking complex concepts and tasks and breaking them into step-by-step processes.

My teach archetype was born then. And coaches started hiring me.

Having no strategy is a kind of a strategy. If you have time to burn or if going about things totally organically is a value of yours, no strategy can work in the long run.

Smart Strategy Means Faster Results In Your Coaching Business

But when it comes to attracting enough clients who pay well, stay longer and refer more ideal clients, having a strategy now, when it’s early days in your coaching business, is the way to get there faster.

For most of us, getting there faster is critical. Most of my clients need to earn and earn well. Their coaching business is in lieu of getting another J.O.B.

So strategy is the way to go.

If you’ve not learned to be strategic yet, that’s okay. And today is the day to start.

10 Critical Strategies For New-ish Coaches

You may be wondering why am I talking about strategy so much in a series called Coaching Business Checkup?

Well, here’s the deal, if things aren’t going well for you in your coaching business it always boils down to a lack of strategy. And there are several areas to look at.

For now I’m going to list them. Then in following episodes I’ll go into more detail about these ways to strategize your fledgling coaching business so you have better results.

And, at the end, I’ll have a free download for you with a Coaching Business Checkup you can do quarterly to assess how you’re doing and what needs attention. It will be cool and super helpful!

#1 Target a Viable Audience

#2 Discover Their BIG Acute Problem And Top Goal

#3 Develop a Signature System To Reach Their Top Goal

#4 Design A Simple Business Model

#5 Create a Positive Customer Journey with Strong Conversion Processes

#6 Set Up Enrollment Opportunities and Learn How to Enroll

#7 Build Trust with a Visibility Strategy

#8 Create a Valuable Customer Experience and Collect Social Proof

#9 Set Up Internal Systems To Save Time

#10 Develop High Payoff Action Habits

There are other strategic things you can do. The list could be endless.

I believe that there are developmental phases for coaching business owners that are like building blocks. They should learned one phase at a time.

In fact, trying to implement strategies that are beyond your current phase of business development can trip you up and postpone success.

So I invite you to be patient and start with the foundation. This is what I do with new coaches in my VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program.

I help you master those 10 strategies. If you’re struggling to create all the strategies you need for your coaching business, let’s talk.

In the Next Episode: How to Strategically Choose Your Coaching Niche

Ep 62 – Coach, Are You Focusing On The Right Things?

This episode is the first of a new series called Coaching Business Checkup.

In this series I’m going to detail the top reasons why coaches struggle to earn well and explain how to shift it.

STAY TUNED til the end of this series where I’ll give you access to a free downloadable checklist so you can give your business a checkup from time to time.

I’m starting off with something that covers a lot of ground … strategy.

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere despite staying busy in your coaching business?

That doesn’t feel good. You’re left scratching your head wondering what you’re doing wrong.

Well, first let me say I get it. I’ve been there. And you’re in good company if you feel this way.

Here’s the big question … are you doing the right things every day? I’m talking about efforts that will pay you back with clients and income?

There is so much out there to distract you. The bright shiny object syndrome is alive and well in the coaching community!

You see what another coach is doing and that sends you into a flurry of activity to implement something that may not work for you. It may not work for your target audience or fit with what you’ve already created.

All the puzzle pieces on the big board of business success don’t necessarily fit together.

You get bombarded with marketing for programs that promise 6 and 7 figures if you just try this simple tactic. It’s so tempting to leap for it thinking …

“Maybe this will give me traction.”

Yeah, maybe.

Or maybe it will be just another money and time taker with little results to show.

I’m embarrassed when I look back at how much money I spent on masterminds and online training programs that didn’t ultimately help me mainly because I didn’t have the foundation I needed to plug those tactics into for good results.

And most of those programs don’t have individualized support. Which is what we all need.

I have inside knowledge about what most coaches are spending their time on day to day. It looks something like this …

  • Researching and brushing up on coaching skills.
  • Looking at other coach’s websites.
  • Downloading every freebie that crosses their attention.
  • Writing blog posts and social posts without any real strategy.

Will those tasks pay off even in the long run?

I remember something I learned a long time ago that I take for granted because it’s so ingrained in my habits now. I want you to know about this so you can take the right actions and get results.

Take High Payoff Actions in Your Coaching Business Everyday

That’s the secret. I take 1 – 3 high payoff actions in my business every single day that I’m working. And it helps me cut way back on time and money wasting.

So, what is a high payoff action?

It’s an action that brings you significantly closer to achieving specific goals with measurable results. In other words, these are the actions that will make it happen!

If you want enough clients and revenue to clear a 6-figure profit this year, then daily high payoff actions are what will get you there.

3 Types of High Payoff Actions

  1. Make Life Changing Decisions
  2. Create Smart Strategies
  3. Continuously Implement Decisions and Strategies

Let’s take these one at a time.

#1 Life Changing Decisions

I believe that decisions are actions. Because nothing leaves you stuck like not deciding. Decisiveness is a top skill of the successful.

Life changing decisions are the kind that require great intention and commitment.

You made a life changing decision when you decided to become a professional coach and build a business of your own. That decision affected your career, your lifestyle and the way you’ll afford your lifestyle.

It also affects your family, friends, community and future clients.

Choosing a viable target audience and committing your coaching business to serving that group and their biggest problem is another life changing decision and high payoff action.

It’s a foundational piece that most coaches miss or misunderstand how to niche effectively. It leaves you floundering and unable to get traction.

Things that are not life changing decisions include things like what colors or images you put on your website or how pretty your business card is.

I’m not saying those things don’t influence your success. But in the scheme of things those are fleeting decisions that have little impact.

#2 Create Smart Strategies

Most coaches I meet for the first time have not strategically thought through their niche, brand, domain, web copy, social posts, and blogs or other content.

The idea of strategy was completely foreign to me when I started my business. Even now, if my efforts are foundering it’s usually because I didn’t do a good job strategizing.

Actions without strategy are busy work. And results will be low, slow and inconsistent.

That’s why I offer a single 90 minute Strategy Session in addition to my signature program for coaches. Because getting the strategy right is critical BEFORE you start slinging messages and offers around. And it’s easiest to strategize with someone who can be objective and see the bigger picture with some expertise about the territory you’re in.

A Strategy Session is perfect for making a life changing decision like choosing your target audience and niche.

If you’re stuck around something in your coaching business, let’s tackle it together. Grab a Strategy Session with me:

#3 Implement High Payoff Actions Every Day

This is where the rubber meets the road.

The truth about high payoff actions is they make you squirm a bit. They require courage and conviction.

For example:

  • Invite past clients to hire you again.
  • Reach out to someone who said ‘no’ before to see if they’ll say ‘yes’ now.
  • Set up Discovery Sessions with potential clients.
  • Contact a center of influence – the person who knows many people in your target audience – to develop a referral partnership. Have a strategy in mind.

Notice how all of these examples are about directly connecting with potential clients? There can be other types of high payoff actions.

But it really is about tolerating the squirm and doing the risky-feeling thing that could give you the quickest and biggest pay off.

If you’re doing things all day every day that are safe and easy it’s for one of two reasons:

  1. Either you’re an expert with vast experience with a well developed strategy.
  2. Or, you’re doing busy work just hoping it will eventually pay off.

Do a 30-day challenge! Develop a smart strategy for everything – blogging, podcasting, emails, social posts, public speaking.

Then every day take 1 – 3 high payoff actions – the actions that make you squirm a bit.

Evaluate after 30 days and see if you’re not in a better rhythm with better results.

Once you have this habit in place of completing 1 – 3 high payoff actions every day, you’ll have a bigger comfort zone because you’ll have begun to master strategic action.

In the Next Episode: 10 Ways To Be More Strategic In Your Coaching Business

Ep 60 – How To Price Your Signature Coaching Program

This episode is part of my Money Mastery series. It’s the follow on episode to How to Develop Your Signature Coaching Program. Consider listening to that first before this episode if you haven’t already.

Common Pricing Strategies and What Works Best for Coaching

I can think of 3 common pricing strategies for pricing:

  • Cost plus pricing – where you calculate your costs then mark up the program so it pays you well.
  • Competitive pricing – where you set your price based on your competition.
  • Value based pricing – where you set your price based on the value of your offer to the client.

I do encourage you to the do the math of what it will cost you to deliver your program. Most coaches miss this piece. And it’s quite eye opening to realize the cost of the time you spend getting a single client in addition to specific costs of marketing and inclusions in the program.

That said, to ultimately determine the cost of your program I prefer VALUE based pricing.

Here’s the reality, if you narrow to serve a viable audience and create a unique program based on market research, then your program probably doesn’t exist out there so competitive pricing or so called “market value” isn’t a useful guideline.

Also, few if any of your prospects are ever going to do cost comparisons, especially if you don’t sell coaching but rather offer a unique program.

Purchasing a program such as I suggest you create is an emotional decision.

They will hear or see your message. Their trust in you builds because you’ve struck a resonant chord with all that you’re doing.

Then, they go to your website, which is hopefully already designed as a client winning coaching website not an online brochure. On that website are beautifully streamlined words and conversion processes that gently encourage visitors to have a Discovery Session with you.

All of this is thoughtfully coordinated and strategized but in a non-salesy way to build trust with potential clients rather than trying to convince them about the value of coaching.

They hire you because they like you and trust you. You’ve been in front of them with valuable content and your website reinforces that. Then, in the Discovery Session you lovingly assess if they are a good fit for your program and enroll them.

You don’t want to sell people – to have to convince them to hire you. It’s unsavory. It makes you feel skeevy.

But if you have a signature program that you have thoughtfully crafted to fit their circumstances, their pain and desires then no hard sell is necessary. You do need to ask them to enroll though. ; )

The Mystery of Odd Numbered Pricing

You’ve no doubt seen that a lot of people use odd numbered pricing where prices end with 5, 7, or 9. For example, a long-term high value program might be priced at $5,975 for a 5-month program or an online training might be priced at $697.

Early on in my coaching business I eschewed that whole odd number practice and priced evenly. $5,000 instead of $4,975. $500 instead of $497.

And I struggled to enroll clients. I’m not saying there may not have been other factors involved.

And then, I looked around at the people I admired that offered mentoring, coaching and training. I noticed they were all using odd numbered pricing. I switched and immediately saw a difference in my revenues.

Weird? Yes. But we as human beings have been trained all our lives on odd numbered pricing and it’s ingrained. There’s an emotional response to it even if it’s not logical.

That said, if you have an issue with it, do your own testing.

Encourage Single Payment Investment

With your Signature Program, encourage or incentivize a single payment investment by creating significant savings over a payment plan.

For example, if your 4 month program is $3,995 for a single payment. Make the payment plan total roughly 25% higher. So, 4 payments of $1,249 paid at the beginning of each month — which adds to $4,996 — is over $1,000 more than the single payment.

Incentivizing a single payment helps both you and your clients in these ways:

  • They invest once rather than continually making payments, which is an irritant.
  • They are not focused on the financial investment but rather fully focusing their energy on transformation.
  • Also, bundled programs like I’m suggesting don’t deliver value in even amounts month to month.

My own 5-month Coaching Business Breakthrough program is front loaded with value. The first 2 – 3 months, depending on the pace of my client, are where I’ll deliver the most support and assistance to create everything for their coaching business. The last two months are less labor intensive because we’ve completed the bigger milestones.

It’s a risk for you if someone pays monthly and drops out in the early months.

In the last 17 years, 90% of my clients have paid the single payment up front for my signature program. I’ve noticed that those who opted for the payment plan often became difficult clients because they were not as committed to their own success.

I think that’s because they weren’t fully invested up front. They had one foot out from the start. A part of them didn’t believe in themselves up front. And a part them wasn’t fully ready to have a business yet.

In the last 5 years none of my clients has opted for the payment plan.

When people want something enough

they find a way to make it happen.

And just that mindset and action empowers them significantly!

Should You Have Tiered Pricing?

One last thing about pricing … some people advocate having tiered pricing.

I say no. You’ll do better if you direct clients to your Signature Program and stand behind it.

  • First, a confused mind never buys. The more offers you have that you’re marketing at one time, the less likely someone will enroll.
  • Also, remember … don’t sell coaching. It’s a hard sell.
  • Do coaching with paying clients who have enrolled into a program they know they want.
  • And, the more people you sell into your signature program the more you earn doing exactly what you love.

If you want to create lower priced programs than your Signature Program, consider making them altogether different. For example, offer an online program about a different thing your target audience wants help with. It’s not only different in focus but also different in format.

Sell it as a down sell only after someone firmly turns down your Signature Program. That way you don’t set up competition for the program you most want to deliver.

But consider, that you don’t really need to have other offers besides a free downloadable offer so you can build rapport and stay in touch with your network unless you’re prepared to create a separate way to attract potential clients to that offer.

This and the episode before it were an episode loaded with tips. Consider listening to them again and please share it with fellow coaches. So many struggle with this piece.

Also, if you want help to create your entire business foundation with everything I’ve talked about in these episodes, go to prosperouscoach.com/VIP and tell me about you.

We’ll have a conversation about what you want and what’s been in the way to see if you’re ready for a coaching business breakthrough.

In the Next Episode: Get Out Of Your Own Way To Earn More As A Coach

Ep 59 – How To Develop Your Signature Coaching Program

This episode is part of my Money Mastery series. The series has been getting great response from listeners.

About episode 58 —planning for profit in your coaching business — Roger said he had several takeaways:

  • Having a real understanding of the stages of business.
  • The idea to set an expense budget.
  • “The big one is that I realize I was relying on my part time paid employment to support my coaching business as more of a hobby. So I have a shift now into thinking of it as more of a business and your great tip of taking a salary from my coaching business to pay bills will be fantastic.”

Thanks for sharing that, Roger!

Today’s episode is about a better way to package a coaching program and earn more than by the session or group of sessions.

First, let’s talk about schools of thought. There are schools of thought about everything.

If you’re still in coach training some trainers may insist that coaching should not be programmed. In other words, you shouldn’t create an offer other than coaching sessions because it means that you take away the coach’s agenda.

If you’ve been listening to me for a while you know I believe that you can both serve a client’s agenda AND offer a specific program for a specific audience that solves their biggest problem and gets them where they want to go.

After 22 years of experience in my own coaching business and helping hundreds of coaches reach financial success in their businesses in my private VIP program, I know that selling coaching by the session only may keep you at poverty income levels.

So what is a better way that helps you earn well as a coach? I’ve been leading to this in the previous episodes so I hope you’ll listen to those too.

Create a Customized VIP Program

This is what I help all my clients create.

It helps the coach feel confident they have something of value to offer. They learn to articulate what they do in meaningful terms and without the agony of trying to convince people to buy coaching.

Of course, like all successful aspects of a coaching business, creating this program has critical steps that go before.

  1. It begins by targeting a viable audience – one that’s full of seekers – people who do invest in their professional and personal growth.
  2. Next you uncover their biggest known problems and the ultimate outcome they want to achieve. That becomes your coaching niche.
  3. Then, you put together a signature program tailor made to that audience. Your program has a clear set of milestones that you’ll help your clients achieve on the way to that ultimate desired outcome.
  4. Then, you learn how to articulate that to prospects in a way that’s benefit rich, supplying them with assurance of both tangible or concrete and intangible or emotional things they’d like to achieve with your help. That there is a structure in your program helps them to trust you and feel inspired to invest.
  5. Lastly, you need a strategy to attract clients, build trust and rapport, then gently send them through a conversion process, sometimes called a funnel, so they are motivated to have a Discovery Session with you, where you’ll enroll them.

Getting all of this done isn’t easy by yourself.

It helps to have a guide like me help you with all the steps no matter how big or small.

Examples of VIP Coaching Programs

For example, let’s say you’re a relationship coach helping people to find their soul mate. Your program might include the following milestones – takeaways you’ll help your clients achieve:

  • Identifying personal values and partnership values. What are their must haves and deal breakers in their life partnership?
  • Getting ready for a partner. What are their strengths but also habits and behaviors in need of adjustment? What are their limiting beliefs about relationships? You might even have something like a life makeover in your program.
  • Setting first date goals. Helping them set personal boundaries and show up with confidence.
  • Discovering the best places to meet people and connect.

There’s a clear arc to the program and plenty of opportunity for the client to bring the agenda to sessions. This structure is more about helping prospects feel confident to work with you.

Or, let’s say you’re a leadership coach and target HR leaders to gain greater impact in their role – something you’ve discovered from market research that’s a top goal of HR leaders. Your program’s milestones might include:

  1. Creating a vision for the impact they wish to make.
  2. Identifying what’s been in the way.
  3. Uncovering their professional strengths and learning how to leverage them.
  4. Identifying skills and behaviors that need attention and areas to stretch.
  5. Develop good habits to strengthen their resilience, mindset and competencies.
  6. Building their rapport, identifying sponsors and other relationships that would help their star rise.
  7. Helping them develop a thicker skin and become bolder in meetings.

You can see that the focus in these descriptions is not about you and your skills as the coach. It’s about the target audience and what they want. But at the same time these kinds of milestones are what all coaches can help their clients achieve.

Either of these programs could be a 4 – 6 months or longer.

Bundle Significant Value Into The Program

So far in your coaching business you might be simply trying to convince a client to hook on … to want coaching and be willing to invest in a certain number of sessions up front.

It’s painful. And it’s without context especially if you haven’t narrowed to a viable audience, done market research and discovered what your audience wants so much they’d be willing to invest in your help to get it.

Programming your coaching into a VIP program creates a context for why a person would want to invest at a high level in their future success. And, you can develop this program without even using the word “coaching”. That’s your toolbox not an outcome they know they want.

Identify What They’ll Get In Your Coaching Program

The next step for creating your program is to identify the features. What do they get when they invest in the program? Consider bundling some of these things into your program:

  • A certain number of private sessions, say 10 – 18 sessions depending on length of your program, your preferences, and what it takes to achieve the goals
  • A certain number of group sessions or access to a closed Facebook group for community support
  • Annual retreats
  • Half or full VIP day where they fly out to work with you face to face on some aspect
  • Unlimited emails to you
  • Session recaps
  • Pre-created guides, forms or assessments to ease a process.

These things still involve coaching and coaching skills. But they add excitement to a program and help justify the fees to enroll.

In the Next Episode: How to Price Your Signature Coaching Program

Ep 58 – Start Planning For Profit In Your Coaching Business

This episode is part of my Money Mastery series.

I’m about to suggest a new mindset and practice that will help you take a big leap in the amount of money you earn from your coaching business — even if you’re a brand new coach.

It’s all about taking yourself seriously as a business owner and graduating from that hobby-like coaching business to what’s called a going concern – a sustainable business that reliably provides for you and your family.

There are two parts to this episode. In the first I’ll explain the 3 phases of coaching business development. You’ll see why soon. 

The second part is about planning. Are you wincing at that? Planning to earn could actually mean that you do earn and earn well.

I’m purposefully keeping this part very basic so if you’ve been a CFO in a corporation or a CPA or this is your 2nd entrepreneurial experience, you may not need this episode.

But if you’re a new coach longing to earn well in your first business then what I’m sharing may shift something inside you that needs shifting.

So first …

3 Phases of Coaching Business Development

The Startup Phase

This is what I help new coaches to do right from the get go. In the phase you create your business foundation:

I’m taking a stab at a metaphor to hopefully will help you understand the importance of each of these phases. let’s pretend your desire to have a coaching business is an apple tree seed. For good measure, you put several of these vision seeds into healthy soil, give them water, warmth and light. Soon, little sprouts come up.

You leave the strongest seedlings to grow and sacrifice the rest. That’s when you nail down your niche and audience. The goal is to have one little tree to focus you love and attention.

The Establish Phase

This is where your business begins to feel real. You will:

  • Consistently put out good content targeted to your audience
  • Develop your reputation
  • Build your leads list and followers on social media
  • Master enrolling clients
  • Earn enough to quit your job
  • Grow your website SEO
  • Find spheres of influence or colleagues who can help your star rise
  • Establish the ideal rhythm and flow of your business
  • ·Fine tune your business to maximize profits and work smarter

Back to the metaphor … your little tree has set down strong roots and delivers its first harvest.

The Maintain or Scale Phase

You’ve made it!

  • You’ve found your sweet spot. Now maintain it. Enjoy it.
  • Or, if you’re hungry to do more, expand into new programs, products or markets. 

This is where your apple tree becomes a reliable producer. It not only feeds your family, but also can grow into a whole orchard if you want.

So why did I tell you about these phases?

Partly so you know that reaching that desired place of the sweet spot requires successful completion of the stages before it. 

If you’re listening to this podcast you’re likely in that Start Up phase. You may have just finished coach training and are beginning to develop your business model. You may have done bits of that and think you should be earning well.

The Start Up phase is the most important phase. Because, without a solid foundation, nothing will grow. 

Coaches often ask me how long it will take before they are established and earning well as a coach. And I say it depends on you. How quickly you can successfully start up and take your business seriously.

Why the Market Isn’t Saturated with Coaches

Every month there’s a continuous flood of new coaches graduating from coach training and beginning the Start Up Phase.

Many coaches never complete that phase either because they intentionally move on to something else or their business doesn’t take root. Strong roots are the critical part for sustained growth. 

And that’s why the field of coaching isn’t saturated with sustainable coaching businesses and may never be.

It may seem shocking or sad to say this, but this is a natural thing. Lots of people stream into entrepreneurial businesses of all types but don’t stay in them. The need to graduate from one phase of business to another is what levels the playing field.

Entering into an entrepreneurial business is a hero’s journey no matter what the outcome. There’s value to the journey even if it ends by getting off the path and onto another.

The reality is that everyone hits some roadblocks in each phase of business development that could lead to closing up shop.

The trick is not to give up on yourself or your business. Listen to episode 49 if you haven’t already – The Only Good Reason to Give Up On Your Coaching Business

It’s about developing the patience and other skills to allow your coaching business to blossom.

So now, with the phases as background, let’s move onto the second part of this episode, which is Revenue and Profit planning 101 …

If you have your foundation set, help yourself move from Start Up Phase into Establish Phase by: 

1.     Creating an expense budget. Adjust it as needed to improve profits.

2.     Setting revenue and profit goals quarterly.

3.     Tracking and reviewing your business financials monthly or quarterly.

4.     Making improvements and set better goals every year.

Now, I can hear you groaning. Maybe you’d rather do cold calls than set financial goals and track them.

But I’ll tell you, there’s solid proof that stepping into the CFO role of your business dramatically increases how much money you’re able to provide for your family from your coaching business.

If you set revenue goals, you’ll earn more than if you do not set goals.

If you set profit goals, you’ll have more money earn year for the things you care about.

I remember setting my first money goals in my coaching business. When I didn’t reach them I got bogged down in shame and a sense of failure. But then I learned the trick to financial goals. Hold them lightly as potential milestones but take them seriously in terms of action to earn.

Think Profit Not Just Revenue

A quick distinction between revenue and profits … 

Revenue is the money you’re paid for your services and products. (So if you have 10 clients and they each pay you $10,000 for a yearlong program, that’s $100,000 in revenue.)

Profit is the money you keep after business expenses, costs and taxes are subtracted from revenue. (So if you pay 20% in taxes and spend $2000 to attract each of those 10 clients that leaves you with $60,000 in profit. That’s not a bad profit but perhaps you could do better.)

So, if you want to end your year with $100,000 profit, aim to make $140,000 in revenues at least. Then do the things day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month to make that happen.

The Beauty of Hustle

Have you set revenue and profit goals for your business? If you haven’t, you’re in good company.

Here’s the truth of it … Most new coaches simply wake up every day and do what they feel like doing in their business instead of what will really help them shift to The Establish Phase. They hope it will result in enough clients and income each year.

That mindset and habit is for a hobby business but not a going concern – a business that provides well for you and your family.

To step fully into the business owner role and earn more, plan your revenue and profits. Then plan exactly how you’ll earn and work your plan.

That’s called hustle.

What would motivate you to generate that kind of hustle where you’re serious about earning?

If you already have a job or if your income from your coaching business isn’t really needed to pay the bills, it’s harder to summon the hustle to really make things happen and get to that Establish Phase and then the Maintain or Scale Phase.

How will you generate enough hustle to earn well as a coach?

To start, create a need for the money you’ll earn then pay yourself a salary out of your earnings to cover that need.

For example, commit to yourself that you’ll pay your mortgage or rent each month from your coaching business income. Move the money from your business checking to your personal checking and call that a salary.

Over time, add in more bills or perhaps X number of dollars to go into a college or vacation fund each month.

Be sure it’s a monthly amount that you have to make. That will help you get into a rhythm.

You’ll need to keep enough money in your business account to cover your expenses. And this will help you see the real financial value of your business.

You may realize that you’ve got too many monthly expenses, too many apps and services you’re paying for that are reducing your profit.

It’s good to realize that sometimes when other coaches or business owners brag about their revenue that the money spent (or expenses) to reach those revenues is a high proportion of the money they’ve made. In other words, their revenues may be high but so are expenses. That means profits are low.

You’ve heard me praise the value of a simple business model for coaches. Listen to episode 5 if you haven’t heard it yet. 

Sometimes, it’s better to keep a low overhead and simpler business model than to buy into that idea of passive revenue or scaling up, which can result in low profits and a massive amount of work.

I’ve shared my personal story about this. I scaled up my business in 2006 and earned multiple six figures over the next few year but profits were low because of all the apps and assistance I needed in order to sell my online training programs, group and retreat programs.

If I did those things now, I’d be wiser about the way I did it, no doubt.

Still, not everyone needs an empire to have an enjoyable coaching business that earns well. And no matter what it’s best to start with a simple model and then grow into those more complex and involved ways of earning later.

In the Next Episode: How to Develop Your Signature Coaching Program