“Am I a Jerk if I Try and Sell Coaching During a Pandemic?”

sell coaching during a pandemic

Hey Coach Ponyling!

Man, how much does the world suck right now?

(It does. It so so does).

If you are feeling stressed or uncertain, I’m with you.

I’m also feeling stressed and uncertain.

We are all human, and change bring stress to our systems.

Change with massive uncertainty? Even worse. Ugh.

So, if you are thinking: “I just need to opt-out, stand down, or take a break from being an entrepreneur right now because LIFE,” then I’m here to say that you should do you. Priorities shift, and that’s okay.

I send the best wishes for you and your family. I hope you are safe and healthy, and we’ll be here when you are ready to come back.

And, if you want to coach, and you know you can help people and are ready to do it…but you feel like a jerk for even putting yourself out there, then I also want to say this: It’s okay to sell coaching during a pandemic.

Truly.

People want and need coaching help right now, and some people are absolutely willing to pay for it.

My BARB students are seeing sales each week across many niches, and I’ve reached out to established coaches in different industries as well.  Some are holding steady while others are seeing an uptick (hi relationship and health coaches!). I can report that’s what I’m seeing in both my coaching businesses as well: People are still buying career help (our RevClub sales are coming in and holding steady) as well as business help (hi! Right here. We’ve got new students joining BARB every week).

So if you are willing to coach and help, I don’t want you to cut people off from it.

BUT THERE IS A BIG CAVEAT.

And the caveat is this: We are in a pandemic, and we can’t ignore it.

am I jerk if I sell coaching right now

It’s NOT business as usual in terms of selling coaching, and the coaches who acknowledge that are doing better than the ones who aren’t (this I believe is true of any business, not just coaches).

Here’s what I mean, let me give you two examples:

BUSINESS AS USUAL:

Let’s say someone reached out a few weeks ago, when this was all beginning, to request a consult with you. You sent them the information to schedule, but never heard back. So you followed up as you would normally, with a gentle reminder and link to schedule, like this:

“Hey Susan, you reached out a few weeks ago requesting a free coaching consult to talk about how I can help you with building your confidence at work. I just wanted to follow up and see if you were still interested? If so, please go here to schedule your session, I’d love to help you! – Coach”

What do you think the response from Susan might be? If you said: “Potentially irritated and annoyed?” then you would be RIGHT.

Susan has 1,000 things going on, and even though your email was gentle, it still could feel salesy to her. Why? Because you are acting like things are fine and requesting her time when she is super stressed. And you know why people love coaches? It’s because we get them and make them feel heard. When you skip that step, that’s when things can turn ugly. I’ve heard some stories of this happening to coaches recently, and I don’t want it to happen to you.

So, instead, I’d love for you to name the elephant and just be open about the pandemic and overall crappiness of the situation.

PANDEMIC EDITION:

Voila – like so:

“Hey Susan, I’m writing because you reached out a few weeks ago requesting a free coaching consult to help you build your confidence at work. I know this might be the last thing on your mind right now given the pandemic, and if so I wish you and your family only the best during these stressful times. Please feel free ignore the rest of the email.

I also know that some people are looking for more support right now, but are distracted by all of the changes (kids home, work remote etc), so it may be something important on your list that has gotten lost. If that is the case, then I am still more than happy to do that free consult with you and talk more about coaching. I know that with the remote work environment, having strong confidence is more important than ever. So if that still sounds good, you can find a time to chat with me here [insert logistics].

Either way, I hope you are safe and healthy, and if there’s anything I can do to support you (I finally found a grocery store with toilet paper – happy to share!), then please let me know. – Coach”

Here’s the breakdown of what I did in this example: I openly acknowledged that times are different.  I also allowed her to jump off this conversation immediately if she can’t talk to me now, or is no longer interested in coaching. And finally, I tried to be of service, whether that’s through the coaching consult or through toilet paper acquisition :).

So if I could sum up the three things I want you to bring to your coaching business right now, it is this:

1) Acknowledge what is happening in some way and adapt to the times. DO NOT SHY AWAY FROM IT.
2) Give people an easy exit if they need it.
3) Be of service in whatever way feels right to you. But be of service.

We tend to remember when people were genuinely trying to help us, and those are the people we turn to when we are ready for some more help. So, keep that front of mind as you reach out and you’ll be okay.

But you may be thinking this: “What if I’m not following up with someone, but starting a sales campaign or launching a program? Or, what if I’m reaching out for the first time, maybe over email? Isn’t that gross? Also, can you show me more examples please? Thanks!”

I think as long as you do the three things I outlined above, your message will land in the right way no matter where you are in the sales process. And of course, I’m happy to show you more examples. I LIVE FOR EXAMPLES!

To help you, I’ve rounded up some more email examples as food for thought!

This email example is taken from Andre Chaperon from Tiny Little Businesses. It’s from a free email training series he was offering to an interest list ahead of a recent Google and Facebook ads program launch. He was open about the fact that the free training was to prepare folks for the new program, so it wasn’t a surprise to people. But to be clear, this is a launch email, so he’s all about selling.

In this beginning of the email, he’s actually doing all three things I outlined, though one is super subtle – can you see it?:

1) He’s being of service by offering  a free training ahead of his launch, and by gently reminding everyone that they are getting this information because they requested it. (Note, it’s always great to start an interest list for a program so you are talking only to people who want it :)).

2) He’s giving you an immediate exit, right at the top, so you can easily stop hearing these messages if you no longer are interested or this is no longer the time.

3) While he doesn’t acknowledge the virus specifically, by putting the exit note right at the top of his email he is adapting to the changing times. It’s subtle, but it’s a change.  Here’s why: Normally a note like this would be 1) Shorter if it’s there at all and 2) At the bottom! Why? Because we usually want to give people a chance to interact with us before offering them a way out :).

Here’s another example:

Next up is an email from Denise Duffield-Thomas, a money mindset coach. This email was focused on helping people handle the coronavirus, and some of the guilt that’s surfacing from it. Unlike Andre’s email which was only sent to his program interest list, this one went to her entire email community. Check out what she wrote in the PS:

At the end of the email she gently offers you different ways to work with her.  And in an even deeper acknowledgement of these pandemic times, she’s giving her people an extended payment plan option for her course, to make it easier for those who want more structured help to get it.

So to sum up:
1) First and foremost: Her email content is her being of service to her community, helping them with guilt they may be feeling (while still being on topic to her brand).

2) By writing about corona and adjusting her offers a little, she’s acknowledging we are in different times.

3) By putting the offer at the end, it’s an easy exit – you have already gotten the value from reading her post, and if you are offended that she’s got an offer you can unsub from her list right below.

Okay, I hope some of these ideas help you think about how to conduct your business during a pandemic. It’s new ground for all of us, but I think there is a way through it.

Bottom line: you don’t have to stop selling coaching by any means! You aren’t a jerk if you want to help people right now (and also want to be paid for that help). Just make sure you adapt to the times we are in now, and PLEASE be kind to yourself as you learn.

And if you know where there is actually some extra toilet paper, feel free to pass that intel along too :).

Here’s your next step!

And, if your next step is wondering: “Okay, how do I find any of these clients to begin with, so that I can do what you suggest?” Then please, without fail, go watch this awesome, highly practical on-demand webinar all about marketing you coaching business so YOU find the clients who most need your help. It’ll help you get your business off the ground, and save you time, money and hardship. It’s also how I marketed my business and made my first seven figures.  🙂

Oh, and it’s FREE. So you know, go and watch it! 🙂

 

Selling coaching during a pandemic