There you are, a shiny new coach full of optimism and sparkle.
You are ready to change your clients with all you learned in life coaching school.
So now…it’s time to get coaching clients!
You hang out your shingle, post on Facebook, email some friends and family and …
You have a few conversations, but no one wants to buy!
You book a speaking engagement, but no one wants to follow up with you.
Now you are left wondering: Am I terrible coach?
Am I just a failure at this whole business thing?
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
Nothing is wrong with you.
But there *could* be something wrong with your marketing and selling.
Let’s chat about that, shall we?
Here are my big questions, anytime I hear of a coach struggling like this:
- Are you super clear on your ideal clients, or are you trying to be everything to everyone? (If you are super clear, skip down to my next question).
- Are you selling something that people actually want?
- Are you educating your potential clients on why they need your coaching?
- Are you expecting too much from your marketing channels?
Are you super clear on your ideal clients, or are you trying to be a life coach to everyone who breathes?
If you are trying to serve everyone, then you are ultimately serving no one.
And let’s be real here for a second, because at Coach Pony we are all about real business truths, so here it is: You don’t actually care about serving everyone and that’s okay.
Wait – hear me out!
Close your eyes and envision yourself coaching someone awesome for a second. Who do you see in your mind?
You probably had an image jump straight into your mind – maybe it was a professional woman, maybe it was a retired man, maybe it was someone younger or older.
Now imagine coaching someone else. Picture coaching a teenage boy with college stress.
Next up, picture coaching an older woman navigating online dating for the first time.
Now picture coaching a millennial trying to get promoted.
And finally picture coaching a CEO struggling with leadership issues.
You weren’t excited about coaching all of these people, were you?
That’s okay! You are a gifted coach, but you aren’t the perfect coach for everyone. Certain problems or issues will excite you more than others, that’s 100% normal.
And there are, more importantly, about a million concrete business reasons for why you should absolutely NOT coach everyone, and I explain them in this free 14 minute class on marketing.
Why? Because trying to coach everyone is a business disaster.
Is the package that you are selling something that your ideal clients *actually* want?
Did you exit your coaching program with big dreams and plans, and start offering your coaching with no real market intel beyond “I know people need this”?
Or, did you develop some ideas and then get out there and do your research, including talking to real people about their problems?
If not, that *may* be your problem right there. Your ideal clients buy what they want.
Therefore you’ve got to have a coaching package that gives them what they WANT.
So go out there and find potential clients in your market and ask them things like:
What is your biggest obstacle to reaching xyz goal?
What have you tried in the past?
What would be different in your life if you did reach that goal?
Why is this so important to you?
Are you educating your potential clients on why they need your coaching?
As coaches, we already know why coaching is great. We know that it can be life changing.
We understand that it’s incredibly valuable.
But our clients don’t.
In the book Made to Stick, authors Chip and Dan Heath talk about the “Curse of too much knowledge” which is exactly what we, as trained coaches, can suffer from.
We assume our clients already know about coaching and understand why our particular offering can help, because we ourselves already know and believe.
We forget that they don’t know, and then…
It’s up to you to connect the dots, to show your clients why they are suffering right now, and exactly how your coaching will help them get to that big dream or goal.
So don’t jump to the end, make sure you start at the beginning with each potential client and teach them the power of what it is that you do, and how it’s going to transform their life in a really personal and meaningful way.
For example, if a client says “I want to lose weight…around 10 lbs but I can never seem to make any progress and I feel like I never will.” Don’t immediately jump to: “You want to lose 10 lbs? I can help you get past your blocks!” That’s waaay too coachy and not at all personal.
Instead, find out WHY they want to lose the weight, why it’s important to them and then start the education progress in a way that they can relate to:
“I understand you’ve been struggling with your weight for a long time. I’ve found that we often have little eating patterns that can sabotage weight loss over the long-term making you feel like you’ll never be able to lose the weight. Sound familiar?
I know your big goal is to lose weight for your sister’s wedding, so you look and feel good in the photos. One of the ways in which coaching can help is by identifying and breaking those bad, almost unconscious eating habits that keep cropping up, so you not only begin to lose the weight and fit into that gorgeous dress, but you also keep it off. This is beyond just eating right and working out, this is about changing the way you think and act around food. Ultimately, I want to help you make a permanent change so you always feel great, and that’s why coaching is so powerful.”
Are you expecting your marketing channels to get coaching clients for you?
If I had a dollar for every new coach who spends tons of time overthinking their social media, or running ads too soon while excitedly expecting tons of new clients, I’d be smugly rich.
So many people think that “marketing” is a few blogs and a fan page with some inspirational posts. But that’s not the whole story. Marketing is a huge effort, one that takes time and consistency over several different platforms.
And here’s another truth: Not all marketing channels are created equal.
Some can have a faster impact that others.
So, for example: Marketing on Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn is what I call a long tail marketing effort.
Think about the last time you saw someone post “I’m a new coach, here are my services” on social and you immediately clicked through bought something from them.
Was the answer “that never happened?”
Most people barely paying attention to their newsfeed, and seeing one or two posts from you about your coaching isn’t going to do much to move the needle.
Over time, with plenty of exposure and lots of credibility, people might begin to find you and engage with you over social media, but it takes TIME.
A faster way to get clients in the beginning is to market one-to-one or in-person via local speaking or networking. The reason? People pay attention when you speak to them face-to-face and you can really have a great, deep, education conversation about coaching.
On a platform like Facebook, your conversation often consists of a question or meme, and they may or may not see it, who knows what the math that runs Facebook is up to today :).
Blogging and using SEO is the same problem – it’s a long tail effort. It will take tons of time and effort before your blog drives organic traffic, so in the beginning, if you blog (and you don’t have to if you don’t enjoy writing), your blog and website is really for people who already know you to learn more about you, but it’s not going to drive new potential clients immediately.
So tailor your expectations based on your marketing channel. Don’t expect a lot from online marketing platforms in the very beginning, they just take time before they pay off.
Remember, it’s not that you are a bad coach, it’s that you don’t have your marketing or selling dialed in yet.
Here’s your next step!
Start with this blog as your checklist, and if you need more help then…
—>Read this free series of articles on EXACTLY how to get paying coaching clients, so you are one of those coaches who actually gets paid. Let’s make you a success story! (no opt-in required, just click and go!).