The 3 R's of selling coaching services
"Launch your 6-figure coaching practice in 6 months or less."
That was the headline of an ad I saw on my social media. So compelling, so attractive, and so much b*****t.
These programs usually give some good advice, and some of them have had some good success stories, albeit not the norm. Most importantly, they tend to be extremely tactical: do a webinar, launch your list, and run ads using this formula.
These tactical approaches can be very attractive when you are starting, they are easy to do and they get you busy quickly, so you feel like you are doing something. There is nothing wrong with these tactics, but you need to understand that as a coach, you will mostly get clients in three ways: Relationships, Referrals and Reputation. Tactics can only help you reinforce the 3 golden R's .
It is all about TRUST
When you are the expert, selling professional services, your clients simply need to trust you. They need to trust that you will execute a good diagnose and provide a good solution that is in their best interest. You need to earn this trust.
Furthermore, there is information asymmetry - you simple know more about the work in hand than you clients do.
Think about it when you are the client. Let's say you need a baby-sitter, how do you go about finding a good one? Do you ask a friend? Do you think of who you already know? Do you Google 'Best baby sitters in town'?
Relationships, Referrals and Reputation are just ways on which trust is transferred from one person to another.
REMEMBER: If there is NO Trust, there is NO Transaction.
What you can do with this information
Here are some immediate mindshits and tactics that can help set your marketing in the right direction:
- The most successful coaches and consultants get their clients from sustained, lifelong professional relationships.
- Activate your network of relationships. It is best if you do this when you don't need anything from them. It only works when there is genuine and mutual professional respect for each other. Avoid salesy language, instead. Ask questions or advice. "Hugo, I following my passion to help coaches do better marketing and wanted your advice what really help you when you started." Is a lot more compelling that "Hugo, I am opening my marketing practice for coaches. And would love to tell you more about it. Do you have 15 minutes to jump on a call?" See the difference? People like relationships, helping, connection, buying. People hate being sold something.
- Master the art of building and maintaining relationships. This is an intentional act. One of my favorite tactics is to map my champions: people who just love working with me, refer me, and support me.
- Craft an elevator pitch that clearly describes what you do, who you serve and what sets you apart. So that when people ask you know what to say.
- Consider networking opportunities, before you go make sure to read Rosemary's golden rules on networking.
- Getting referrals come organically, but every now and then, you can ask for referrals. Most people don't.
- Consider what elements of your customer journey are deterring your reputation. E.i, a. Poorly designed website.
- Evaluate things that build your reputation. Speaking engagements, publications, mentions, articles, testimonails, portfolio, lists, etc.
The role of digital marketing in all of this.
No agency and no formula will guarantee the success of your business, there is not get-rich-quick proven steps. The role of digital marketing is to support relationship building, creating reputation and putting together a referral strategy. Below are some high-level ideas on how digital marketing support the 3 R's.
- Generate brand awareness with fresh traffic to compelling information.
- Create a list and nurture it with content.
- Maintain an updated and segmented CRM.
- Staying top of mind through content.
- Create share-able content.
Protect and build your Reputation:
- Professional looking website and web presence.
- Digital PR
- Pitching article
- Podcast and media placement.
- Launching a program.