How do I get coaching clients after qualifying?
Qualifying as a coach is a fantastic start to an exciting and rewarding journey. You get to make an impact on your clients’ lives. Your training has taught you all about how to coach, including practical experience through co-coaching. The challenge now is finding some clients.
But how to find them when the ink is still wet on your coaching certificate?
Not to worry – the process is simple and doesn’t cost a lot of money to get up and running, although it may be less ‘sales-y’ than you think. Marketing coaching services is a little different to the classic sales approach, being focused more on conversations than conversions.
This post will point you in the right direction and offer some signposts to a marketing strategy that isn’t just about chasing leads, likes and views.
It’s better to have the ‘right’ clients than lots of them
A question we hear a lot is, How can I get coaching clients fast?
The problem is, the answer often disappoints: You can’t, at least not ethically anyway.
It may be disappointing but it’s probably not a surprise. Coaching – as you know – is about personal change and growth for a client. It’s not to be entered into lightly. The client has to be ready and if they’re not, then pushing them to sign up or buy is unlikely to be the right choice for them.
It’s hard work to convince someone that they need coaching unless they’re ready to see it. Ideally, they need to understand what coaching is and how a coach (you!) can support them first.
So, selling to potential clients who aren’t ready is ineffective, and often unethical.
Marketing to the ‘right’ client (the client who is ready to do the work) is slower but it works.
Beware the “get rich quick” approach
When marketing coaching, the various hacks, tactics and ads are just shiny distractions. When you’re starting out you can’t buy your way to the front of the queue. You have to put the work in first, reach out to people, show them what you’re about, build a reputation.
Some people will tell you otherwise. They’ll talk about how they made thousands selling courses and programmes, how their Secret Formula™ has clients beating a path to their door to hand over their cash. They’re often using marketing tricks and pressure sales to ‘close the sale’.
But that’s what they’re doing, it doesn’t have to be what you do. What worked for them probably won’t work for you. You don’t have the same network, contacts or experience they do. If what they’re doing looks like it works but doesn’t feel right – then it’s ok you can do marketing another way.
Take ‘em on a journey
The client that is ready for coaching understands what coaching is, how it could support them in their current situation and, specifically, how the coaching you are offering is what they need.
When marketing, your job is to get them to this point. Put another way, your marketing content needs to take them on a journey.
This journey of consciousness involves the client travelling from being unaware that they have a ‘problem’ or that their situation can be improved, through understanding the ‘problem’ and that solutions exist, to actively considering coaching and then signing up to what you’re offering. The endpoint of the journey is your invitation to guide them through the coaching process… and their acceptance of that invitation.
Yes, this takes time. We could tell you otherwise but we’re all about telling it like it is and not making false promises.
But… “I need clients now!”
We understand that you’re eager, you want to get stuck in and apply your new skills and learning… and that you have bills to pay! But signing up clients who aren’t ready for coaching and are a poor fit for what you offer and the way you work is a step backwards. As a coach, one of your biggest marketing assets is (will be) your reputation – this approach won’t build it.
Worse, you’ll attract people who won’t see the value in what you do, won’t be engaged in the work, and as a result, won’t see the change they’re looking for (because they don’t understand that change) – and when the coaching fails, they’ll probably blame you.
If you rush them, it won’t work.
Focus on marketing content that takes people on a journey, on the other hand, and when they do begin the process of working with you, it’s because they’re ready – good things will happen.
Besides, you’re not on your own in this. You can download our guide to creating a coach’s marketing plan that maps out the journey for potential clients.