This episode was inspired by a recent conversation with a coach …
I’ve never met a coach who loves the idea of marketing. And most coaches tell me they hate the idea of selling. And that’s why it always surprises me when I see coach’s websites, emails and social posts worded in a salesy way.
I made up that word. Salesy is when you make your marketing about you and what you do instead of your target audience and what they want. Salesy is about pushing and convincing prospects to buy your program way before trust and connection are established.
For example, imagine …
- a coach’s website whose brand, domain and messaging is mostly about them and the wonders of coaching. That’s salesy.
- or social posts that spout the tenets of coaching. That’s salesy.
- or a lead magnet — also called a free offer or freebie — that delivers a bit of coaching guidance about limiting beliefs, balance or imposter syndrome — addressed to no one in particular.
These approaches shout “hire me for coaching” but coaching isn’t something most people know they want.
Listen, I did ALL of these salesy things when I started as a coach, so I totally get why coaches do this. None of us knew any better.
No One Likes to Be Sold
So then how will you convince people to hire you without selling coaching? First, let’s shift that to a more powerful question:
How can you EARN the attention of IDEALclients and INSPIRE them to hire you WITHOUT selling coaching?
Let’s break this down. I ask the question this new way for 3 main reasons:
- Earning attention comes way before asking for the sale.
In our fast and full marketplace with so many marketing messages flying at everyone, earning attention is a true art. Before you throw out social posts or throw up a website develop a smart strategy.
Attention is earned when you show up consistently focused on what’s most important to your target audience. Speak their language. Build trust and connections.
The word ‘coaching’ or ‘coach’ is not present at all in that effort.
- It’s better for you and your prospects if you DO NOT TRY TO CONVINCE them to hire you.
Think about a time when someone tried to convince you of something. How did that feel? If someone tries to convince me of something I am turned off and will quickly get excuse myself.
If I’m online I’m bouncing away so fast it will make your head spin!
Convincing someone is to try to hard sell them. It’s the stereotypical car salesman joke – relentless high pressure. Human beings are wary of pressure. Inside them the walls go up.
As a coach you want to run your business with integrity. You want to feel good about what you do 100% of the time. You want to put out positive energy.
Yes! So let the pressure off. Let go of any whiff of desperation to enroll a client. Instead SERVE your target audience faithfully. Serve as a form of marketing. That’s called generosity marketing.
Generosity marketing is about connecting to your target audience with respect for them and for yourself. You repeatedly show them that you understand them because you’ve taken the time to do that.
Show your vulnerability. Be real.
The amazing result is that over time you build trust and your ideal clients will want to hire you totally without you exerting any pressure.
- Lastly, it’s far better for you if you DO NOT SELL COACHING at all!
Coaches may think I’m crazy when I say this … at first. But then they shift their mindset and a big AHA happens. It’s such a relief not to push the idea of coaching on anyone.
Coaching is a Toolbox Not An Outcome People Know They Want
For a moment … open your mind and think about what coaching really is. It’s a highly effective set of skills. It is part of your toolbox. It’s a process.
However, and this is critical, coaching is NOT an outcome. It’s not an ultimate desire. Coaching is not something people readily know they want.
Selling coaching will feel for you like pushing a large boulder up a steep mountain with lots of false summits. Again I know this because I tried to do it for years and failed.
So if you’re thinking of naming your business with the word coach or coaching in it. Don’t. If you’re thinking that your website should have a whole page about what coaching is and why they should want.
Don’t. There’s a better way.
My 99th episode was called What Coaching Clients Want Vs What You Think They Need. I invite you to listen to that after this if you haven’t already.
With big hearts wanting to help, coaches often feel people need coaching and then decide to spread the word about how great coaching is. When it doesn’t result in eager clients it feels so disheartening.
Why aren’t more people hiring you and staying with you longer?
Authentic and effective marketing is about listening to the words your target audience uses to describe their most urgent challenges and their specific urgent goals. Then you relate back what they’ve shared and provide a pathway to their ultimate desired outcome. Authentic marketing is a respectful and patient process.
In your toolbox are freshly minted coaching skills and other talents. Your paying clients will appreciate you but won’t be focused on your toolbox. They will be focused on their results — a testimonial to your value.