As a coach to other business coaches, I thought I’d share a few pointers on what helps towards making a good coaching business. This is just seven of many tips I share with business coaching clients. Whilst you may well know this, are you practising it? Sometimes we just need timely reminders to prompt us to get back on track.
7 Strategies every business coach should adopt:
Have real conversations with people in your sales process.
This applies to every business. Psychologically, people will engage with you more if you pick up the phone and talk to them, or better, meet with them. An online form by itself, or emails, will NOT do the trick. People engage with people – that means their face, their voice and yes, their manner. Playing the ‘time-efficient’ and removing the personal connection will ensure your conversion rates are not as high as they could be. The trick is to determine up front if your prospect is genuine, ready and is willing to afford you. Noticed I didn’t just say “can afford” but “willing”. Most people will find money for what they want – but if they don’t perceive value, then they will find excuses. Sure, they might meet with you, but at the end of the day, they will find every excuse to not start, pause or stop very early. Your marketing needs to be clear on how you will benefit them and you need to qualify your prospect.
Not be everything to everyone – or the wrong one.
There is a strong temptation for coaches, especially new ones, to want to take on everything and everyone who crosses their path. Check out my article on Niching. When you stop taking just anything, you start making money. Think about the “D” grade clients you’ve seen. Be honest, you know them. They come to you with a sad story; everyone has ripped them off, or they are doing battle with heaps of people, but it’s never their fault. They’ve had several coaches, but it’s never worked. All their staff are against them. They ask if they can pay in weekly installments. They say they are struggling fiscally, already setting the scene for non-payment or fishing for a discount. When you’ve been around the block long enough, you know when to say ‘no thanks’ to your less than ideal client, or a client in a field which is not your area of expertise. With business maturity, you find it easy to say no to things which you recognise are going to distract you from your business or weaken your brand, or which are not congruent to your own business goals. For some coaches, the best thing they can do is say no to a prospective client when it’s not right.
Under-pricing is common.
There are two reasons as to why most coaches under-price themselves. The first is that they don’t believe they are worth the money they should be asking. Yes, this does happen more so with a newer coach. That person may well be newer to coaching, but may well have decades of invaluable experience, skills and abilities. They believe no one will pay that. Thing is their belief that people will not pay that higher fee is because they don’t have faith in themselves. Whether you charge $50 an hour or $1,000 an hour – there will always be someone out there who says “You’re too expensive!” If that person does not see your value and is not likely to in the future, then they are not your target market. Stop targeting markets that are not ideal for you. Some of my Coach the Coach™ clients often ask me about targeting brand new business owners. Think about where your new client is coming from. If they were an employee earning $26 an hour, then from their own beliefs, they will struggle to pay say $500 an hour. If they have come from a corporate background or earned $200K in their prior ‘life’ they are more likely to appreciate the value of paying for quality guidance. This is a generalisation, but understanding the mindset, upbringing and attitude of your prospect will make your life easier in the long run.
Be clear about who you want to market.
This is where your words, especially on your website, become very important. If you market yourself as a budget option or are suitable for the ‘budget conscious’ then you are going to attract exactly that – the tyre kickers who are shopping around for the cheapest deal. There is an expression “Rich people value time; poor people value money” … and you need to ensure your marketing is focussed on how you will grow their business, save them time and improve the general class of their business. Of course, bottom line is that if everything is running smoothly, they will, of course, be making more money. You need to be clearly able to translate your value. As always, raving testimonials do this very well also.
Give the right perception.
Perception is everything, especially in a coaching or consulting business. Think about it, if you drive an old bomb, wear ragged clothes, have a chocking (or no) website, market poorly and are disorganised, then how in heck will anyone believe you are the expert in these things. Coaches must lead by example and give the perception that they know what they are doing, experienced and confident. How you present your business and yourself is relevant. There is certainly no home-printed business cards. Remember also that by not being GST registered, you’ve told us you earn less than $75K … so again, that perception of small.
Beat your competitors with consistent marketing.
As I tell any business, you must be consistent with your marketing. This, again, ties in with perception. If people see you everywhere, then you are familiar and you’re boosting that ‘like, know and trust’ factor. Consistently doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune on marketing, just have a good range of strategies and marketing yourself, whether you are busy, quiet or even on holidays. Consistent marketing is a bit like interest compounding; every little bit helps.
One of my big things is keeping promises. If you say you will do something, then do it. If you promise to respond to emails in 24 hours, then do it (or don’t make that promise). If you say you’ll send something over during a coaching session, then make a note of that and be sure to do it. Be a man/woman of your word. If you are doubtful you will be able to do something, don’t promise it, or be clear it may be doubtful.
There is, of course, so much more to coaching – but here is a start. Please let me know if you’d like to know more about my Coach the Coach ™ program. I’d love to talk to you.