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 57 – Coach, Is It Time To Give Yourself a Raise?

This episode is the 5th in the series called Money Mastery. 

The last episode called Are You Turning Away Coaching Clients with Your Pricing explained a more strategic approach to pricing than charging by the session or a package of sessions. I highly recommend that you listen to that.

In this episode, I’ll focus in on the mindset and simple mechanics of how to give yourself a raise, no matter what approach you’re using to charge right now.

Shift Your Money Mindset

If you’re a new coach chances are you’re not thrilled with your income yet. And there may be conflicting ideas in your head about taking money for coaching.

First there’s the idea “Well, I’m a new coach so I shouldn’t charge much.”

But totally at odds with that is the desire “I want to be financially successful at this.”

And then, there’s this other idea that can come with the helping professions “Money isn’t that important to me.”

It’s like mental whiplash.

So first … compassion. I feel ya, because as a new coach I was thinking those same things. One of the coaches in my Facebook group — Prosperous Coach Club —said it so clearly:

“As someone new to the field you desire to earn a good wage but setting fees is like the taboo topic. It is uncomfortable. You feel your skill set and knowledge is worth it but fear your lack of experience being newly in the field doesn’t warrant it.”

Exactly. Thank you for that Jenny.

Most new coaches charge fees that will keep them earning below the poverty level. The strange thing is that if you applied for a job you’d never say ‘yes’ to the rates you’re paying yourself!

You deserve to earn more. Period. And deciding to own your worth is all you need to do. 

Rather than thinking that you should charge as a newbie, own your life and work experience. Charge to sustain yourself.

Be a good boss and pay yourself well. Everyone wins. You, your family, your clients – everyone!

Let’s take a more pragmatic and dispassionate look at this.

Do the Math

Think from the get go like a business owner and do the math.

What I mean by doing the math is to actually figure out what you want to earn and then play with the number of clients and fees per client you’ll need to earn that much.

Now to demonstrate this I’m going to keep things simple. In the last episode I suggested there’s a much better way to price than by the session or a package of sessions.  And I stand by that. But to make doing the math easier to understand I’m going to talk about pricing by the single session.

Let’s say you want to earn $100,000 annually and you’re charging $100 per one-hour session. 

To earn $100K, you’ll need to have 1000 paid client hours each year.

Let’s take this a step further and divide 1000 paid client hours by 50 weeks. That’s assuming you’ll take 2 weeks off each year and work the other 50. 1000 divided by 50 = 20. 

You’ll need 20 active clients paying $100 for their weekly session.

Does have 20 paying clients each week sound doable?

When I first started as a coach, I would have said ‘yes’. I had the illusion that enrolling coaching clients would be easy. Every one wants a coach, right?

But 20 years in I now know that it takes a lot of marketing and enrolling to have 20 clients. And serving 20 clients per week is a big client load! 

The largest number of 1:1 clients I’ve worked with is 15 and I found that to be far too many clients for me. I’m more comfortable with 10 one-to-one clients at time.

Consider how much work it would be to find, enroll and maintain 20 active clients every week.

Sure, you might leap to the idea of doing group coaching or having an online membership program, and you could do that eventually. 

The reality is filling those groups and building that membership program is a big endeavor fraught with challenges. It’s something that fits better later on once you have a leads list and know better what you’re doing.

As a new coach, to keep your overhead and labor low consider offering only 1:1 coaching for a while. Build up your leads list and your reputation. Later, you can try group programs.

I talk about this in my episode called The Simplest Coaching Business Model.

Now let’s give you a raise to make it easier to earn 6 figures.

Let’s say that you decide to increase your fees to $500 per session but still aim for $100,000 annually. You deserve that raise. Make your life easier.

At that rate you only need 200 paid client hours per year. Divide that by 50 weeks. 

You need only 4 one-to-one paying clients each week. 

Now, that’s more enjoyable and sustainable than 20 each week.

Decide To Raise Your Coaching Fees

But you might be thinking, well, Rhonda, how can I charge $500 for one session? Who would pay for that?

You’d be surprised. I’ve seen a lot of coaches charge much more than that.

But know this … they have put a lot of strategy behind their pricing. It starts with:

These are all the things I teach new coaches how to do.

It’s not just about throwing up a website selling life coaching or some other type of coaching and enrolling people by the session.

This doing the math exercise was simply to illustrate how to think about paid client hours and how as you price higher you make earning well a more realistic scenario.

I suggest that you do not charge by the session at all. If you haven’t heard my last episode, go back and listen to understand this. It’s at prosperouscoach.com/56

In any case, you can’t begin to earn well until you charge more.

Decide to give yourself a raise.

Two years into full time coaching, I distinctly remember feeling so frustrated with my income. I couldn’t figure out how to break through the blocks I had about it.

And then I had a mental break through. How did I do that?

One day I simply decided to raise my fees. In fact, I challenged myself to raise my fees by 25% with each new client I enrolled.

And that’s what I challenge you to do now. With each new client you enroll, increase your fees by 25% or more. You’ll be amazed how you take a leap in the way you position yourself and own your value.

My preferred method for raising fees is simply to charge higher fees for new clients. 

You can also raise fees across the board with existing clients by giving them notice. Tell them that as of a specific date your fees go up to a new amount.

Increasing Your Fees Helps Your Coaching Clients Too

Sometimes we don’t consider the effect that low fees have on our prospects and clients.

As I increased my fees, my client took bigger leaps.

They were more invested both financially and emotionally in the work so they showed up more fully, put more into their actions. And because of that, they were more ideal clients for me so I enjoyed the work more.

  • As I increased my fees my confidence grew.
  • As I increased my fees I was able to be more choosey about clients and opportunities.
  • As I increased my fees I developed better marketing, enrolling and coaching skills.
  • As I increased my fees I relaxed.

And relaxing had a profound effect on every aspect of my life, especially my ability to enroll clients. I had fewer ‘no thank you’s’.

My conclusion? If you really want to do the meaningful work possible with coaching and get paid well, charge higher fees

Now everyone has their glass ceiling. I’ve hit a new one over the years and had to work with my mindset to get through it.

There came a time for me where earning more was no longer my goal. Serving more people and living my life the way I want to are the reasons I charge the way I do.

Here is my recommendation for you:

  • Don’t be about money, be about value and sustainability.
  • But, do be a smart business owner.
  • Set revenue goals.
  • Do the math to plan how you’ll achieve those. 
  • Take smart actions.
  • Keep making incremental improvements in your mindset and habits.

In the Next Episode: Why It Pays to Plan Your Revenue As A Coach

Ep 56 – Are You Turning Away Coaching Clients with Your Pricing?

This episode is the 3rd in my Money Mastery series.

You’ll learn a powerful shift in the approach to your coaching business that will dramatically boost your earning power.

Are You Charging Fees for Coaching Sessions?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever priced your coaching by the session or by the hour.

You’re not alone in that. It’s the typical pricing strategy for new coaches. I raised my hand too.

I used to charge by the month for a certain amount of sessions. Now, that’s slightly more strategic than charging by the hour, but as pricing strategies go, it’s on the low side of effective.

Today, the only time that I charge by the session is for my Strategy Session. You’ve heard me mention this from time to time. It’s a one-off 90-minute session where you can get my expertise to help you choose a smart target audience and coaching niche.

Those are small but crucial steps for your success. Once you have your audience and niche figured out it’s like being let out of mental prison after a long stay. Sunshine. Fresh air. Freedom.

Consider giving yourself a special Christmas present that will be a turning point for you in your coaching business. Grab a Strategy Session with me.

There are two weeks left this year to invest in a Strategy Session before the price goes up in 2020.

Jil Hunsberger wrote this beautiful testimonial for her session:

I am so thankful I invested in a Strategy Session with Rhonda. I was at a standstill trying to define a viable target market and had spent way too much time and money trying to figure it out on my own with nothing to show for it. In one amazing session with Rhonda, we were able to define a unique target market that I am truly excited about. Rhonda is very good at what she does and I am excited to continue working with her to grow my business in the coming months!

Thank you, Jil. We had a lot of fun in that session!

The Coach Practitioner Approach

So why is my Strategy Session the only time I charge by the session now?

Because when I used to ask for fees for a certain amount of coaching sessions each month it kept me from earning well as a coach.

That by-the-session pricing approach is what I call The Practitioner Approach.

If you think of yourself as a practitioner of coaching then you are selling coaching and your only strategy to earn is to try to convince people to buy coaching from you.

Sound familiar?

That Practitioner Approach is the same thing that therapists do, that body workers do.

There’s a HUGE limitation to selling your services by the session or even a package of sessions.

Because you are putting a price to your time, every prospect and client is mentally calculating the value of each session against the cost.

They keep asking themselves …

do I really need any more of these sessions?

And that’s the problem with selling coaching. More about this in a minute.

Most likely you learned to price your coaching this way from your coach training school. It makes perfect sense when you’re first learning how to coach, you need to fulfill a number of hours of coaching to pass or certify.

If you have finished your coach training … I invite you to STOP that pricing practice now.

It’s time for a wholly different pricing strategy that won’t hold you back from earning well.

And it begins with key mindset shifts:

Shift to Being a Business Owner

First, stop thinking of yourself as a coach practitioner and start thinking of yourself as a business owner. Rather than running a coaching practice, run your business.

I know the whole world of business ownership can feel intimidating. But it can also be hugely empowering.

When you take ownership of your business it will raise your confidence. It puts you in the driver seat of your results.

Stop Selling Coaching

If you’ve been listening to my podcast for a while no doubt you’ve heard me suggest something that at first sounds crazy.

When you talk about coaching and sell people into a coaching program you’re pushing a big rock up a steep hill.

People don’t know that they want coaching. And some people have a negative opinion of coaching or they immediately rule it out for themselves because they think it’s like therapy and expensive.

In their minds, coaching is a nice-to-have for wealthy people instead of something they urgently want right now.

I talk about this in my most popular ever episode called Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

Yes, you’ve been trained as a coach. Yes, coaching is highly valuable. You and I know it.

But if you’re trying to sell it you’re working very hard to earn very little.

What do I suggest instead?

  • Target a unique viable audience and find out what they want so much they’ll invest in you help to get it.
  • Then, gear your entire business around serving those clients towards that ultimate outcome.
  • Your website is no longer an online brochure about the type of coaching you do but a place your target audience feels at home with a strong conversion process to build trust and a desire to work with you.

Will you still coach your clients? Yes, because coaching is the main skill in your toolbox. But you’re no longer selling coaching – something people don’t readily buy.

And if you create a long-term private program that helps that audience reach their ultimate outcome one milestone at a time, you can charge much higher fees. And that means:

  • You need far fewer clients each year.
  • You’ll do less marketing to find and enroll them.
  • You’ll do deeper work with each client.
  • You’ll never have to try to convince people to buy coaching ever again.

Your target audience will be inspired to enroll because you’ve tailor made a program that helps them overcome specific obstacles while helping them reach their big goal.

They trust you because you’ve bothered to research what they want, what’s in the way and then put a clear pathway together to help them reach what’s been unreachable on their own.

And because they are investing in a whole program up front and it has milestones that get them where they want to go, they are not thinking about the money and calculating value. They are fully focused on the transformation.

And we all know that clients focused on their own transformation make greater leaps.

So, are you ready to make these shifts? I double dog dare you to try it. Get the word “coach” and “coaching” out of your vocabulary, off of your website. You’ll be amazed how things will change for you.

And if you need help to make these shifts in mindset and approach and get everything set up in your business to make enrolling great clients easy for you, check out my VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program.

In the Next Episode: It’s Time to Give Yourself a Raise, Coach

Ep 51 – 2019 Listeners Choice #1 – Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

I’m starting out here with an announcement … I’m proud to say that Prosperous Coach Podcast is 1 year old and going strong with over 18,000 downloads thanks to you.

I’m grateful for the continuous stream of enthusiasm I hear from you and how generously you’ve shared my episodes with other coaches.

Keep that up because coaches need this kind of community support.

We’re in this together. Whatever generosity you have towards other coaches comes back to you many fold.

Very soon I have a new series for you. I’ll be digging into pricing, packaging and all the mindset issues that I know coaches have about asking for fees that pay you well. I had them and I see the same limiting beliefs in my clients.

The good news is you can leap over those issues with a bit of coaching. I’ve seen lots of coaches go from stuck and limited to suddenly understanding why it’s so important to charge more than you think you’re worth in order to realize your worth and help clients transform significantly.

More about that and all the MONEY topics very soon.

To celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Prosperous Coach Podcast, I wanted to share the top episodes so far. Listeners’s Choice.

I’m not surprised that this is the clear #1 episode. And it’s so important for all coaches to hear. It’s called Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

Listen closely. You’re about to have your eyes opened. And it’s in a good way that will help you succeed as a coach.

Click here to find the rest of the Show Notes for Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?

And tune in to another Listeners’ Choice episode for 2019.

Ep 46 – 6 Steps to Ace Your Coaching Website ‘About’ Page

This episode is the 7th in the series called Client Winning Coaching Websites

In past episodes, I’ve covered

It’s worth listening to the whole series because we’ve been building up a clear picture of exactly what a client-winning coaching website looks and sounds like copy-wise.

If you know your target audience well and have drilled down your niche, you can follow the series to create or improve your website so it attracts and pre-sells clients to work with you.

If you know right now that your coaching website is not going to help you build the business you want full of ideal clients who pay you well, let’s have a Strategy Session.

I’ll review your site and share my recommendations based on two decades of expertise about client-winning websites.

If you’re stuck, reach out. One call can lift you out of confusion on any topic so you can surge forward.

Writing Copy Is An Art 

And there is some science to it as well.

I help my clients write all of their copy in my VIP program Coaching Business Breakthrough. And by the time we’ve finished their business foundation, they know how to write great copy on their own. It took me far longer to learn.

When I started as a coach I had a lot of ideas about what made for good writing. Most of them came from school. And then, over the years, I had to slowly unlearn the stodgy rules in order to learn to write compelling copy. The kind of copy that inspires reading and taking action.

Your ABOUT page is a critical part of your website. And the truth is, all web copy is important because in relatively few words you have to strategically plan for one effect … to inspire action. Copy does that through relevance and building trust.

Not So Much About You

There’s a temptation to talk a lot about yourself and coaching on this page but that won’t help you attract and enroll clients.

When an ideal prospect lands on your website, you want them to feel totally at home and as if you are speaking directly to them. This is true for every page, even the ABOUT page.

It’s actually less about you and more about them.

People will go to the ABOUT page of your site when your other pages have made them curious.

They want to know — can this person help me overcome my biggest challenges on the way to reaching my biggest goal?

How you’ll answer that question might surprise you …

Illustrate how well you understand them.

They don’t want to read a CV. In fact, credentials are the last thing they care about. And that’s why those go last.

Jump In and Write It

So what do you write on your ABOUT page? 

Your story as it led to serving your audience. But tell it in a relatively ego-less way.

I’m about to walk you through step by step how to write this copy. To make this easier for you to visualize, check out the website of a recent client of mine. You can read her About copy and see how it fits this approach.

Go to Cultivating Resilient Teens, click on the tab in the navigation bar Meet Shawna.

Shawna, thank you for letting me share your fabulous website with other coaches.

1. Write 1 or 2 short evocative sentences that speak to the very heart of why your web visitors are on your site now. Your goal is to help them to feel immediately understood by you.2. Write a short paragraph of 2 – 3 sentences to further connect and relate to your audience. Bring in a few of the top emotional challenges plus desired outcomes related to your niche.If you’ve done market research, you’ll be able to mine that information for highly relevant words and phrases that will build a sense of trust.

3. Then, write 2 – 3 short paragraphs infused with a bit of vulnerability that show why you understand them. Either you’ve been where they are now or you have a unique perspective on it. Pull in a detail or two about your background or skills that makes you a great resource for them without being salesy or mentioning your program.

4. Segue into a short paragraph or two that explains why you created your company (name your brand) and how you help people like them (insert your Core Message/Unique Benefit Statement).

5. End with a final and more personal paragraph about what you do when you’re not serving this audience. Make it light and relatable. Add in something funny or touching.

6. Lastly, put your training, education and any relevant credentials or work history into box titled Background & Education. Eliminate any references that are too old or not on target with why this audience is on your site.

To see another equally excellent client-winning website and a slightly different approach to writing copy for the About page go to Your Business Unchained and click on Meet Audra.

Audra is another past client who generously gave me permission to share her website with you. Thank you, Audra!

Either approach is effective and one of these will work well for your About page. By the way, some people use the words Meet instead of About in their navigation bar for this page. It’s up to you.

In the Next Episode: 5 Rules to Write Better Copy for Your Coaching Business

And I’ll have a highly valuable GIVEAWAY for you with all the copywriting rules and tips I’ve curated over 2 decades. Don’t miss it!

Ep 44 – Craft a Compelling Benefit Statement for Your Coaching Business

This episode is part of the Client Winning Coaching Website series.  

In the last episode I described 3 approaches to choosing your brand or company name and domain.

Today we’re diving into how to create your benefit statement so that it’s attention-getting. It’s the second thing your web visitors should see on your website to help them feel at home and interested in what else you have to say there.

 You’ve no doubt heard the concept of a Benefit Statement. It’s a single well-crafted sentence that describes specifically how people in your target audience will benefit from working with you.

I like to call it a Core Message because it identifies your coaching niche and all of your other messaging and offers will stem from the concept. But for the purpose of this episode, I’ll stick with Benefit Statement.

If you’ve ever done any live networking, you’ve probably experienced that dreaded moment when it comes around the table to you and you’re supposed to say what you do.

I remember times like that where I literally snapped to attention when someone introduced themselves with style. That’s the power of a well-crafted Benefit Statement.

But I’ve also heard and read a lot of there statements that lack inspiration and won’t help the coach attract clients.

Obviously, you want yours to be highly relevant and compelling to your target audience. 

 So in today’s episode I’ll explain 4 main things:

  1. What makes a Benefit Statement COMPELLING as well as how to avoid that “MEH” response.
  2. What a well-crafted Benefit Statement will do for you and your target audience  plus why it will help you get engagement and enroll clients from your website.
  3.  A bunch of Benefit Statements that are beautifully word-smithed for impact as well as some that are duds so you can see the difference.
  4.  The pre-work and basic formula for crafting your own Benefit Statement.

 So first, what does a Benefit Statement do for you and your prospects?

 Your Benefit Statement is an attention-getter. It’s the centerpiece of your marketing. When you share an effective Benefit Statement, people will understand exactly who you serve and why those people would want to hire you.

You want colleagues and friends who hear it to say:
     “Oh, I know someone who could really use your help!”

You’ll use your statement a lot over the course of your business, including as:

·      The first marketing message in the header of your website.

·      The first sentence that you say to introduce yourself to prospects.

·      The beginning of your “elevator” speech when you share what you do in a networking meeting.

·      One of the first sentences within your “bio” for a presentation or your by-line in any kind of guest article or promotional material.

·      It’s also what you’d say if someone asks what you do for a living.

What Will Your Core Message Do for You?

·      Make it easy for you to articulate how you benefit your target audience.

·      “Weed out” non-ideal prospects. 

·      Spark interest with ideal prospects in seconds.

·      Evoke the response “That’s me!” or “I want help with that!”

·      Invite them to take a step with you.

·      Open potential for an enrolling conversation.

What Will Your Core Message Do for Your Coaching Audience?

·      They feel that you understand them and what they urgently want.

·      They recognize you as a potential go-to resource for them.

·      They begin to know, like and trust you (or move on).

Wouldn’t it be grand to stop having those awkward moments of trying to explain feebly what coaching is and why someone wants it.

In fact, and this is important … the word coaching doesn’t show up at all in a powerful Benefit Statement.

So before I go further let me share some actual Benefit Statements used by successful coaches.

As you listen to these, notice how each begins by specifically naming a target audience, then artfully goes on to name a challenge that target audience has which implies an outcome they want.

I help mompreneurs make more money doing work they love while taking care of priority #1: FAMILY.

I help parents empower their teenage daughters to build confidence, integrity and resilience for all of life’s adventures.

I help authors get their books out of their head and into bookstores.

I help restaurant owners and managers keep the staff and patrons who keep them in business.

I help divorced women move forward with vitality and a positive sense of self.

I help financial planners confidently build a lifetime of value with multi-generational clients.

So, do you see why those would snap the specific audiences mentioned to attention and pique interest?

What Makes for a Top Notch Benefit Statement?

Those were all top notch Benefit Statements. Why?

1.     Its one single sentence streamlined to 10 – 25 words max.

2.     It has the fewest possible prepositional phrases.

3.     The target audience is defined in the first phrase. I help _____

4.     The rest of the sentence names 1 to 2 SPECIFIC challenges and/or desired outcomes for your target audience.

5.     It flows mellifluously off the tongue. In other words it’s easy to say and read.

6.     It’s emotionally evocative.

That last one is critical if you want your statement to inspire action.

The words and concepts are highly relevant to the target audience and the syntax of the sentence is crafted mindfully.

That’s again why it’s really helpful to do market research in the form of info interviews to draw out from individuals in your target audience what specifically they say — how they language pain points and desired outcomes.

If you take nothing else away from today, I want you to hear this: Specificity grabs attention!

That applies to all messaging, whether you’re creating a Benefit Statement, writing web copy, blogs, social posts. You name it.

It’s so tempting to go with bland, broad, vague and abstract words. But those don’t grab attention or inspire action.

I think what happens for a lot for coaches is they want to leave the door open. They want their message to cover all bases. But that’s a misstep. Because broad, vague and abstract words and concepts don’t move people to action.

Let’s look at some of the Benefit Statements I read before one at a time. First, I’m going to dumb it down by replacing specific words with more broad, vague or abstract words. Then I’ll read again the crafted statement.

Here’s an example of how vague and broad misses the mark.

I help women get through divorce and thrive in their new life and relationships.

It’s not bad, just not attention getting. Now here it is with more specificity in the words:

I help divorced women move forward with vitality and a positive sense of self.

Instead of trying to cover everything — thriving in their new life — this statement hones in on vitality and positive sense of self, something all divorced women would want. 

Here’s another Benefit Statement dumbed down with abstraction and vagaries:

I help moms find fulfillment and joy in their businesses and family.

Starting with the audience as moms is too broad. The words ‘fulfillment’ and ‘joy ‘are too abstract, especially when used in a sentence that doesn’t get to a tangible benefit.

Tangible benefits get more attention. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also have emotional benefits included. 

See what I mean with this emotionally evocative Benefit Statement:

I help mompreneurs make more money doing work they love while taking care of priority #1: FAMILY.

See how much more powerful that statement is?

We know the previous statement was talking to moms with businesses but it didn’t make it as clear as it could. And what do business owners want? To make more money doing work they love. But since she’s a mom she also wants to take good care of her family.

Listen to one more set of Benefit Statements that goes from so-so to fantastic!

I help authors write with ease and grace so they can publish their books.

Okay. Not horrible. It names the target audience and something want, but it’s lacking emotionally evocative words. So this one infuses that emotion with a sense of motion:

I help authors get their books out of their head and into bookstores.

The Basic Formula for Your Benefit Statement

It might surprise you to know that a highly effective Benefit Statement is NOT:

·      About you.

·      About your skills.

·      A laundry list of how you help your clients.

·      The same as a tagline. That’s a different device altogether.

When you write your Benefit Statement:

1.     Begin with ‘I help’ or ‘Helping’.

2.     Then describe your target audience in the fewest possible words.

3.     Lastly describe in evocative language a specific tangible outcome they know they want that implies a related challenge they’ll move beyond.

CAUTION: Testing your Benefit Statement on people who are NOT in your target audience or who are not experts in marketing won’t bring you useful feedback. Well-meaning people who don’t understand what you’re doing may try to dissuade you from targeting and using specific language.

Okay, go forth and word-smith a compelling Core Message!

In the Next Episode: Custom Coaching Website Vs. DIY Template with Guest, Nichole Betterley, Chief Web Wiz

I’ll be interviewing Nichole Betterley https://npoweredsites.com, an ace web designer, the best I’ve found for coaches. We’ll talk about the real differences between DIY websites and custom professionally designed site. We’re biased for good reason.

Ep 43 – How to Brand Your Coaching Business

This episode is part of the Client Winning Coaching Website series.  

In the last episode, I detailed exactly what your website needs going for it to be a client-winning website — the type of site that helps you attract and enroll new clients.

Branding is the first thing people will see on your website and you want to leverage it by having it be on every page, plus anything else you create — a blog, a podcast, a business card, social profiles, letterhead. You get the picture.

What is a Coaching Business Brand?

It’s best known as your company name. You’ll have a logotype made for your brand. But branding goes deeper than that. It’s about the personality of your business.

Words are powerful!

When I first launched my coaching business, the brand I chose was Bubbling Well. That’s still my dba and what I use for the legal entity, copyright and other official things.

But, while the word is lovely, it only meant something to me. And it didn’t help my clients — who are coaches — to find me or understand how I can help them.

So in 2006, I changed my brand to Prosperous Coach, because helping coaches reach financial prosperity is my mission.

Branding a critical phase in your coaching business. It’s an opportunity to design a lasting brand that artfully describes your target audience and your coaching niche.

It’s best not to create your brand until you’ve chosen your target audience and designed your niche.

Every step leverages the next.

Here’s the secret … the narrower and more focused your brand, the easier it is to remember. 

Which of these brand grabs your attention most? And which do you think is most memorable?

Rhonda Hess Coaching
or
Bubbling Well
or
Prosperous Coach

You can tell that I felt the last one was most memorable. And indeed, it was somewhat magical when I made the shift how much easier it was to attract prospects who were ready to work with me.

3 Guidelines to Choose Your Brand

  1. It’s meaningful to your target audience.
  2. You love it!
  3. No one else has a similar brand / domain name.

The last point is more important than you might think because it’s better for everyone if your ideal clients don’t confuse your business with someone else’s. I know coaches who have received a “cease and desist” letter from someone who had the brand name first.

Brainstorm your brand while you’re online. Use a Google search first to see if your company name idea comes up that way. And if not, then use GoDaddy to see if the domain that matches your idea is available. If not, you’ll want to get more creative and unusual.

Let’s say you want the domain successfulmompreneurs.com and realize that someone has already registered it, DON’T simply choose a different suffix such as successfulmompreneurs.net. Similarly, if someone else has smartstartbiz.com, don’t opt for jumpstartbiz.com. In both cases your brand won’t stand out and you may lose clients to that other business.

Once you’ve landed on a good brand/domain, consider reserving not just the .com but also the .net, .biz, and .org.

Reserve the Domain For Your Own Name Too

Internet consultants recommend that you reserve your own name as well, even if it is not your company name. Your web designer can point the DNS servers of that domain to your brand domain. That way if someone can’t remember your brand name but they remember your name they can look it up and they will still arrive on your website.

3 Approaches to Choosing Your Coaching Business Brand

As with everything, there are several schools of thought about choosing a brand.

  1. Relevant to Your Audience

prosperouscoach.com

cultivatingresilientteens.com

impactfulleader.com

Audience oriented company names create a very memorable brand.

2. Relevant to the Top Problem You Solve or Your Niche

buildalifeafterloss.com

clientwinningwebsites.com

gracefuldivorcesolutions.com

yourbusinessunchained.com

These types of brands also help ideal clients find you online and reinforce the benefit of working with you.

3. Your Name

tonyrobbins.com

marieforleo.com

Names are not strong brands initially. It’s an approach best used if you’re already well known in your industry. For example you’ve written a popular book, do keynote talks or intend to do big events, press releases or use major media techniques like television.

Whatever approach you choose, go for a brand/company name that is:

  • 1 – 4 words max.
  • Easy to say and read. If you use foreign language or made up words, be certain the pronunciation is intuitive. For foreign language words, also be certain that you know what the word means, and it’s appropriate.

Leave the Words ‘Coach’ and ‘Coaching’ Off Your Brand

I recommend against using those words because it could work against you unless your target audience is coaches, which is the case with my business.

Hopefully you’ve listened to my episode called Why Coaching is a Hard Sell. . It’s true and one of the challenges we coaches face in enrolling new clients.

If you’re not targeting corporate clients, most people don’t know they want coaching so they won’t search for it or respond well to the word or concept.

Please know that I’m not implying coaching isn’t valuable. Of course it is! And it’s best not to wave it in people’s faces. It’s better for your messages, offers — everything you do — to be centered around solving a specific acute problem for a narrow group.

Once client’s enroll, coaching may be your primary tool to support them. But they don’t buy your tools, they invest in outcomes.

The Next Episode is: Craft a Compelling Benefit Statement for Your Coaching Business

Ep 42 – What Exactly Makes a Coaching Website Client Winning?

Hello coaches! Today we are doing something a little bit different … I’m going to take you on a journey.

And, this is really about how your website can work on your behalf to bring you clients and future clients and get people on your list so you can connect with them and build relationships of trust with them over the long term.

I’ve been talking about websites for a couple of episodes recently in a new series that I’m working on called Client Winning Coaching Websites. This is the third episode in this series.

If you haven’t heard the first two, I‘d recommend that you go back and listen. But after you listen to this one.

Okay, so today what we’re going to dive into is what is it that makes a coaching website client winning.

And remember last week I talked about how so many coaches are putting up what I call an online brochure, which is really not geared for attracting and enrolling coaching clients.

As a result, the website just kind of sits there and does nothing. And it’s frustrating because no doubt you spent money on it and time on it and invested a lot of your heart and soul into it too.

There is a totally different way to do a website and if you’re about to start your website, I hope you’ll listen really closely because it does begin with some really early things. One is choosing a viable target audience full of seekers and developing a really smart niche that’s going to help you stand out in the crowd.

But also there’s the mechanical thing which is to choose a website template that is actually geared towards enrolling clients for you and a lot of them are not. That online brochure type is not.

Imagine the Customer Journey Online

Now, take a couple of deep breaths, close your eyes and think about when you’ve been online and something has jumped out at you and hit the mark about what’s important to you .

You have clicked and gone to a website. Then, because of the experience that you had there on the website, you made a decision to sign up on a list for get a free download. Or, perhaps even taken a stronger action and actually invested money into a program of some sort.

That journey is called the customer journey.

Create a strategized customer journey like what I describe below for your website tailored to your target audience.

The easiest way I could think of to illustrate this for you was to talk to you about your own goals and objectives as a coach.

As human beings, when are on the Internet, we are mostly in a trance moving through this thick, very busy, loud, marketing-heavy environment. We very quickly make decisions about what we’re going to pay attention to and what we’re not going to pay attention to. 

It’s mere seconds. We pay attention to is something that has a high degree of relevance to us as individuals.

Your top challenges and goals are floating around in your head in the background all the time. Something that you’re struggling with, something that you are challenged by, something that you’d like to change, something that you’ve tried to do on your own but haven’t been able to.

You’re looking for help … maybe even consciously yet.

Relevance is What Grabs Attention Online

What we’re talking about here is relevance

You have a set of things that are top of mind for you as an individual and every other person out there on the Internet has a set of challenges, goals, things that they’re thinking about in the back of their mind all the time. 

How does that relate to your website?

Be sure that your website hits one of those high points, one of those relevancy points for your target audience. 

And you can see the problem here is that if you don’t have a narrow enough target audience — if you don’t know exactly what makes them tick

  • what keeps them up at night
  • what it is that they really, really want
  • what is an acute problem they most want solved

… then you’re going to have a hard time creating a website with an online customer journey that will enroll your ideal clients.

A Model of a Customer Journey Relevant to Coaches

I’m going to take you on my ideal client’s journey because it’s quite intimate to me and  you. I serve coaches and you are a coach so the customer journey that I’ve put together that connects to my website is relevant to you.

My hope is that by walking you through this, you’ll have a model. You’ll see what it is that you need to do with your own website, for your own target audience. 

Okay, so there you are. You’re a new coach who finished coach training or are just about to.

But so far your business really hasn’t taken off and there are set of things that you’re struggling with as it relates to your coaching business.

You want to be a successful coach and to make a difference in people’s lives. One of the struggles is this whole niche thing.

I still don’t have clarity about my coaching niche!

So what do you do when you’re online with that problem? Well, you might search for answers about coaching niches. Searches are one way that your clients might find you.

Searching online you’ve found some articles about coaching niches and you start to read them and you’ve kept your Google page open because you want to go back to options. Some of the articles are helpful and some of them are not. Some skim over the surface.

But then you come across something that is unique, that isn’t something you’ve heard everywhere else and it speaks to you.

You’re inspired so you go their website.

Here’s How to Create a Pre-Qualified Coaching Client on Your Website

To continue the journey where it becomes clear how to do this …

  1. The first thing you see is their brand (same as the name of their company and domain). and it speaks to you.
  2. And then right underneath that brand name, you see a core message or benefit statement. And what it says hits the mark about specifically what you want and what challenges you, so you’re inspired to read more.
  3. You scroll down and you read the highly relevant home page web copy. It’s short and hits specific words that you’ve been thinking and feeling.
  4. It’s pointing you towards a solution — a free downloadable guide all about how to figure out your coaching niche. And so without a thought you are putting in your name and email address and you are downloading that pdf.
  5. You’re inspired to immediately open it up and everything you see in that guide makes your heart sing because here is someone who gets you, someone who understands what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, they’ve done it themselves and they have a system.
  6. And you are so inspired by this point that when you read how the guide invites a free Discovery Session with this person you don’t hesitate to schedule it.
  7. And in the meantime, while you’re waiting for that discovery session to happen, you are back at that website bingeing on more relevant content.
  8. By the time you get to that Discovery Session you are pre-sold on hiring this person! So when they offer you an opportunity to work with them, you sign up

What I’ve just described is it customer journey. It’s a model for you and what you want to create for your ideal clients — a unique narrow audience.

Mindfully and Strategically Design Your Coaching Client’s Web Journey

Don’t throw up a website selling coaching. Instead, mindfully, strategically making every decision that influences what your website is going to look like, what the copy’s going to say, what your free offer  is that takes your ideal clients on a meaningful journey of building trust and getting pre-qualified to work with you. 

By the way, don’t just offer a Discovery Session as your freebie on your website!

It’s too early for that. It’s kind of like going on a first date with someone who brings their parents along. Too much too soon!

Build your customer journey from the ground up.

I know it’s not an easy thing to create this customer journey. I know it’s not an easy thing to choose your coaching niche to make sure that you have a viable target audience that’s full of seekers — people who will invest in your help to get exactly where they want to go.

Specificity is the Secret to Creating a Client-Winning Journey for Your Coaching Clients

It is specificity in all things that snaps our head to attention.

Going back to the coaching niche example, see how specific that is?

We need to find for you what is that burning issue that is common for your specific narrow target audience. The pain is so acute that when your ideal clients see words about that on the Internet, they snap to attention.

Examples of a Brand and Benefit Statement

Now, I promised you in this episode that I would explain to you what makes a client winning coaching website client winning. And in a way I just have but I’m going to go over it now instead of the customer journey where you’re a part of it.

First, it starts with choosing a brand name that is really specific to the outcome that you offer. Here is my brand:

Prosperous Coach

See how it fits my target audience?

I’ll go into more details about brand names in a future episode, but just know that that’s an overview. 

Your brand —which is the same thing as your company name and your domain mirrors that too — is the very first point of client attraction on your website. 

You want ideal coaching clients to arrive on your website and think: yeah, this is for me

Which brings me to the second point, which is what I call a core message and a lot of people call a benefit statement — it’s a sentence that describes in specifics how you help your target audience. 

My core message is:

Helping coaches earn more and market less

by choosing a profitable coaching niche they’ll love.

I’m naming two specific things coaches really want — to earn more and market less and a top of mind challenge for new coaches — to choose a profitable niche they’ll love.

It’s short and it’s power packed. It’s not just a tagline like — Go. Fight. Win! — it says more than that. In seconds it tells web visitors if they have arrived at a place they want to be and it inspires them to delve further into your website.

That core message is high up in your website  right on the header right there with your brand. 

On many coaches websites that I see, the header just has a quote on it or it has some pretty image, but it doesn’t really tell the person who is arrived on the website: I have arrived at the right place.

When you go to website, aren’t you pretty quick to judge whether this website is valuable to you or not? 

If not, you bounce off and you’re on to something else because the internet is a vast place and if you are not spoken to at the heart level about your specific challenges, then you’re gone off that site never to come back again.

Next, what goes right underneath the header is some client winning web copy and there are a lot of tricks to web copy. Don’t write a philosophical essay and hope that people are going to read it because people have very short attention spans.

We are a distracted population, especially when we’re online, especially when we’re on our phones.

We are so easily distracted away from what we’re doing that we very often don’t read more than a sentence before we move on

 So your web copy on your homepage needs to be short, punchy and get right to the point in a way that is emotionally evocative. It can’t be formal language. It can’t be long, deep paragraphs. Maybe … 250 words max.

Your home page copy is meant to get your target audience to your first conversion process, which is your opt in  — a free downloadable guide, loaded with value that they can’t get anywhere else.

Don’t create a freebie that’s coachey, because there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of those kinds of articles and free things out there already. 

Dig in and create a free offer that’s so specific to your target audience and niche while it solves a really unique problem they have while it pre-sells them on enrolling with you without being salesy.

I’m going to go into more detail about freebies later on down the road,

Once they download your freebie, you want them to read it. The copy needs to be short and punchy and really to the point. Pull their eyes through that downloadable freebie and deliver AHA’s quickly. Enlighten them, inspire them, open their eyes, get them thinking.

You want them to read it all the way to the end where you invite them to your Discovery Session

By the time they finish reading your guide they are so primed that they click the link takes them to your calendar.

But you know people are all different. Some people are not going to immediately read that downloadable freebie. So you also need to have set up a set of follow up emails constructed in a very strategic way. They’re short, but they’re connective, they’re emotionally evocative, and they point attention to specific passages or pages of your freebie.

Lastly, your Discovery Session is your opportunity to enroll them as a client. There’s a non-salesy, non-coachey way to enroll them that doesn’t send them away wholly satisfied as sample coaching sessions do.

If you are working on your website right now and there’s something holding you back from getting it done in a client winning way, reach out to me. Let’s have a strategy session.

In the Next Episode: How to Brand Your Coaching Business