Your coaching clients are only buying one thing – certainty
A fundamental marketing question (for coaching or any other business) is: are you selling what your market is buying?
Yes, you’re selling your coaching services. And yes, your clients are buying them. But what exactly causes them to say yes? What aspect of what you offer clinches the deal? You may think you know but beware of assumptions…
If you’re not sure, you need to be
When a prospective client is looking to work with a coach they are looking to buy one thing: certainty.
They have an outcome in mind (a new skill, a promotion, a career change…) and they want someone who can guide them to achieving that outcome.
They don’t just want someone who can probably get them there, who will try their best to make it happen, someone who thinks it’s possible… they want someone who is certain they can provide that kind of support.
Certainty isn’t a guarantee
Just to be clear, we’re talking about providing certainty, not a guarantee.
You might feel that presenting a feeling of certainty might lead to false hopes or unrealistic expectations. That’s not what we’re suggesting here.
Of course you can’t guarantee an outcome that depends on the client. Whether they ultimately achieve their coaching goals and outcomes is up to them.
But you can offer certainty of support: that you can guide them, provide expert and focused advice, that they will get the full benefit of your attention, knowledge and experience. This is what they’re looking for: a coach that sounds, feels and presents themselves as certain.
It’s about saying, “I work with people in your situation and have guided them to the kind of outcome you’re looking for.”
Nor is certainty about spin or some kind of selective disclosure. One thing you’re probably certain about with any coaching outcome is that it will take a lot of work, effort, and focus on the client’s part to get there. And that’s fine. In fact, that will reassure most people. It’s honest, probably not surprising, and besides, nobody likes being sold one thing and receiving another.
Incidentally, if you have a specific niche certainty is much easier to convey. It’s easier to present yourself as certain about your coaching ability when you’re focused on a specific set of needs, probably with a specifically tailored process.
(For more on niching check out our blog on niching your coaching business)
Nobody’s looking for a hero. But they are looking for a guide
People aren’t afraid of hard work. Not if they have their heart set on a goal. What they’re looking for is someone who can make that goal more achievable.
People pay £20,000+ to climb a mountain. Just to say they’ve done it. They don’t want someone who’ll promise to climb that mountain for them. And they know success isn’t guaranteed. They want someone who’s been to the top before. Someone who knows the route, can point out the pitfalls, advise on weather conditions and safety equipment. Someone who can guide them to the summit.
Lead with empathy and show your certainty
Certainty is closely linked to trust. It’s a fact that in an uncertain world, people gravitate towards those who can reassure them. Use empathy-led marketing to create that trust.
Empathy creates trust because you’re showing you’re listening to them, showing you understand their situation, and demonstrating your (relevant) authority when you talk about others in similar situations you’ve been a guide for.
(For more on empathy-led marketing, start with this guide.)
But… “I can’t be certain about their outcome.”
Good, that’s honest. Honesty is required, remember? And you don’t want to over-promise or promise to deliver something you can’t (nor something that isn’t within your gift).
Just bear in mind, you’re not promising certainty of outcome, just certainty of excellent support from an experienced coach and guide – you. The message is: you are the best person to guide them, the person that is best placed to support them in achieving the outcome they want.
Besides, nothing in life is guaranteed. If they want a guarantee, they should buy a toaster!
Certainty sells, and people are buying
Potential coaching clients are looking for certainty.
- …change can happen (specifically, the kind of change they’re aiming for).
- …you know what they’re facing.
- …you have supported this kind of success before.
- …they can do it.
Your clients want to work with a coach who will support them to the outcome they want. Whether that coach is you, is a question of certainty. And trust. Whether they have it in you or not.
If this has prompted a few thoughts and perhaps made you look at how you sell and talk about your coaching services then join our community for even more great content and training to guide you on your coaching journey.