“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does!” Years ago, I saw that statement displayed prominently on the classified ads pages of a newspaper somewhere in Africa and it came back to my mind as I thought about the concept of marketing your services as a coach.
You will be of little help to anyone if you are a great coach but the potential beneficiaries of your services don’t know that you even exist, so marketing your services is one way to not only be a great coach but a successful one as well. Here are some suggestions that will help you to achieve just that.
1. Differentiate Yourself
Don’t get lost in the crowd of all the coaches that exist out there. One of the best ways to market yourself as a coach is to differentiate yourself and your coaching business so that you are in your own league. In this way, prospective clients will come flocking to you because you will be the only one who can address their needs.
For instance, nail the persona of your ideal client, such as middle-aged professional women going through divorce and needing help to balance career and parenting. You can also draw a kind of matrix rating the different attributes of the niche you have selected and then choose which attribute you will excel at.
For example, in the communications industry, there are nearly countless players. Apple joined the fray and decided that it would excel at product design and speed (of the devices they create). Others tried to provide the most affordable devices, the most diverse collection of devices, and so on. That approach catapulted Apple Inc. above its competition and it was the most valuable company in the world at one time.
The question is, how are you going to differentiate your coaching business so that it stands out before clients?
2. Give Out Amazing Content (for free)
Another effective way to market yourself as a coach is by giving out amazingly useful content for free, and without expecting anything in return.
An example taken from elsewhere will help to drive this point home. Ramit Sethi is a New York Times bestseller. He strongly advocates for giving your best content for free, and then charging unbelievably high prices for the products that you put up for sale. Just so you know, Sethi is in the habit of selling his programs at upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, and he has brief windows within which interested people can snap up the available slots to his training programs.
The psychological trigger in this case is that once people are wowed by what you give out for free, they will be more than eager to pay top dollar for anything that you sell since it is most likely to be even more valuable than what is already available at no cost to the user.
As the Bible says, blessed is the hand that giveth. You should therefore seek first to give, and then what you get back in return will be more than an ample reward for what you selflessly gave the public.
3. Use a Tripwire
A tripwire in this case is a technique that you employ to nearly remove any risk to trying out your services and coaching products for the first time.
Internet hosting service providers excel at this by offering ridiculously low monthly rates for people who sign up. This attractive low rate lures people in, and the hosting company benefits from years of subscriptions as well as upselling other products that they offer.
The logic behind a tripwire is that it is hard to get a customer to buy your product for the first time, but once they become a client, it is a lot easier to sell other (even more costly) products to them.
Many coaches offer a free 45-minute initial consult in order to get clients in the door, and you can think of other ways to use a tripwire in your business.
4. Hang Out in the Right Places
Have you heard the saying ‘If the mountain cannot come to Mohamed, then Mohamed will go to the mountain’? As you think of ways to market yourself as a coach, look for ways to hang out where your potential clients are.
For example, if the ideal client is a member of the Rotary Club, attend meetings and offer to speak on a topic that is relevant to Rotarians. At the end of your presentation, mention that you are a coach in a certain niche and are available to help those who need your services.
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Another approach is to write guest posts on blogs frequented by your target clients. This will position you as an expert and the link back to your website will drive traffic where you need it.
So, where do your preferred clients hang out? Follow them there and make them know you exist and are ready to help them!
5. Leverage Your Experiences
People are attracted to authenticity, and this same quality can provide a powerful way to market yourself as a coach. What unique experiences do you have that can draw potential clients to you?
For example, did you overcome childhood abuse and you would like to use your story as a way to coach other people who are still held back by their abusive childhood experiences?
Look within and identify some unique experiences that you can leverage to market your coaching business. Don’t make the mistake of pretending to have had certain experiences when you did not. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying “what you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say!” This means that your target clients will see through your act and your coaching business will die even before it can learn how to walk.
6. Write a Book
No, writing a book isn’t too much to ask of someone just starting out as a coach. Remember, you have unique experiences that you can tap to share how people going through the same can crawl out of the dark place in which they are.
That book will be useful to you in several ways. First, it will establish you as an expert in your niche, thereby making you more attractive as a coach. Secondly, it will give you some talking points to start conversations in the circles where your potential clients are found. And, a book will be an additional source of income to supplement what you earn by being on call with your clients.
7. Don’t Shy Away from Asking for Referrals
Many people have an affliction that makes them freeze each time they need to ask someone for anything. Don’t be one of those people. Start practicing and get comfortable asking for help whenever you need it. You will be surprised that the universe has designed itself in such a way that there are more people waiting to be asked (for help) than there are those asking for help.
Here is a soft way for you to get into this game of asking for referrals. Type a quick email to your family, friends and former colleagues notifying them that your coaching business is now open. Explain what help you offer and ask them to refer anyone who could benefit from your services. This email is also an opportunity for you to throw in your tripwire (a call to the recipients or their contacts to get a complimentary 45-minute session with you).
You can also ask for referrals from other coaches in your niche or those offering complimentary coaching services. For example, one coach may be helping single moms get back to work. You can ask such a coach to refer their clients who need help coping with divorce. You too can refer those who need to rejoin the workforce so that the relationship is mutually beneficial.
Consider sweetening the deal even more by agreeing on a referral fee so that you motivate other coaches to send clients they can’t take on your way. Who said that the competition is the enemy? Only people with a scarcity mentality think that the pie is so small that one must grab as big a share for themselves as they can. There is more than enough for everyone, so start looking at your competition as people you can work with to make this world a better place.
It isn’t possible to exhaust all the techniques that you can employ to market yourself as a coach in a single blog post like this one. The fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy, so we encourage you to refine the techniques above and see which ones work best for you. Let your creative juices flow and you will soon find the marketing formula that cements you as a successful coach!
To Your Success,
Jairek Robbins + Team PCU
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