As a start-up coach, how awesome would it be to just close your eyes, cross your arms, and “I Dream of Jeannie” style nod your head and poof! Magically, your coaching business is filled with great clients, running itself, organized and beautiful … while you make the difference you’re here to make.
Ahh … if only!
The truth is that starting your coaching business can be messy and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.
And that’s why today, I’m telling you a story … a Tale of Two Coaches.
In my former life, almost 15 years ago, I had my dream job. (It wasn’t coaching, then.)
I loved what I was doing – and had been dreaming of doing it since I was 13. I went to school for it and had planned on doing it my entire life.
I actually had my entire life all planned out, all the way through retirement.
But then, I was fired … and all my perfect dreams were shattered.
And you know what it’s like, right? Sometimes when it rains, it POURS.
I was recently divorced, and I was now jobless, on my own. I had responsibilities. I needed to make money fast! But like so many of us, I had no experience setting up a business – I just knew I loved to coach, and wanted to make it more than a hobby.
Kate, who was my coach at the time, gave me a big stack of papers and said, “Here is everything you need to start a business.”
That pile of papers stood between me and my success.
Imagine it, for a second. If a pile of papers stood between YOU and YOUR success, what would you do? Tackle it? Hide behind it, pretending to do “busy” work? Let it stop you from moving forward? (Answer really honestly – it’s okay, I’ll wait!)
For me, it was perfect. I’m like Monica from Friends: I LOVE to organize and make things work as effectively as possible (I’m crazy like that).
So I went through that whole pile in under a month, and piecemealed different technologies together to create a system to run my business.
Because I did that, I put a system in place that handled all the details of my new coaching business behind the scenes, while I coached.
I automated, and made sure nothing could slip through the cracks. And because nothing was slipping through the cracks, I could deliver what I was promising while I powerfully served my clients!
And guess what? THAT gave me the confidence that set me apart from other start-up coaches.
That confidence allowed me to present myself professionally. I could go to the networking events and learn the marketing to get clients. It allowed me to charge what I was worth right out of the gate, and all of this was how I had a full, booming coaching practice in under six months.
In fact, I was on track to make $50k in my first year, and I hadn’t even finished my coach training!
The best part? The entire process was FUN – I absolutely loved it!
That’s how I built my business.
Kate, on the other hand, had a completely different business-building experience.
Even early on, Kate recognized the fact that she had never excelled at things like administration, processes, or systems in business. She’s always been more of a “go with the flow” kind of woman, so it made perfect sense to her to do the same with her business.
Kate loved being a coach so much, that THAT was her flow, and she struggled in all the business-building areas … which meant she also struggled to create a thriving business.
(Can you relate?!)
Kate is naturally gifted at networking, client attraction, and sales, so it wasn’t too long before she had her first client. Along with that client came her “Oh, Crap! NOW What Do I Do?” moment.
She immediately called her mentor coach and said, “Now what do I do?” (I can only imagine her panic!)
Her coach walked her through the next steps of getting the client signed up. It became a pattern: every time Kate ran into another missing business system, she would call her mentor and then scramble to figure out the next step … always rushing to implement it right away, so she could maintain some level of professionalism with her clients.
To her clients and prospects, everything was “fine,” but behind the scenes, she was a mess!
The piecemealing continued as she solved immediate need after immediate need as she bumped into them.
Kate was stuck in REACTIONARY mode, and she lost clients and money in the process (she once told me a story about how it took her THREE MONTHS to create an invoice for a client and by then … she was so embarrassed that she didn’t send it! She ultimately waived the fee!).
Because Kate was disorganized in her follow-up, she would often just ignore it all together. This went on for three years! Kate did create minimal financial success, but everything was always a struggle. So despite being a great coach and a great marketer, Kate was a (self-admitted) terrible businessperson!
When the Two Come Together:
“When Kate met Melinda” …
Kate was quick to dub me The Goddess of Efficiency!
When I met Kate, as my mentor coach, she handed me that big stack of paper she’d been collecting for over three years and said, “Here’s everything you need!”
When I took that stack and created my newly-organized business systems, Kate said, “I want what you’ve got!!!”
And I began coaching her to organize the back-end of her business.
Realize that at THIS point, I’d only been “in business” about a month myself, so I wasn’t in the flow of attracting and serving clients. But Kate could see how much an organized, streamlined, efficient process would grow her business!
(And her crystal ball said that it would skyrocket mine!)
Kate and I quickly realized there were lots of coaches out there who didn’t know how to run a business, or didn’t like the business-end of coaching. And we realized WE could HELP them become thriving business owners!
And that’s how we became business partners. That was the birth of what is now The Coaches Console.
Fourteen years later, we’ve transformed this realization into a 7-figure business, working with thousands of coaches, and growing an awesome team, so we can continue to make even bigger impacts in the lives of many around the world!
The Moral of the Tale:
You have to be prepared, and have the back-end of your business ready to find new prospects, convert them into clients, and support them in an exquisite way to make the difference–and the income–you want to make.
Your passion and your love for helping your clients can get them the transformation they want – but if you’re always struggling in the follow-up or client attraction, you’ll never have the life YOU want.
There’s no shame in being “bad at the back-end” either! In fact, even if you’re great at it, imagine how much easier life would be if you could follow a proven system – and not have to build it all from scratch (or from a huge pile of papers and resources!).
So let me ask you:
Which coach can you more closely identify with: Melinda or Kate?
And which path do you want to take with your business?
Comment below – I LOVE hearing from you, and I read your comments! I can’t wait to respond to your thoughts and questions.
You are READY.
Ready to live your mission: transform lives by doing what you do best – coaching.
And you’re excited, right? To get out there … find clients … kick ass!
But then your enthusiasm is tempered, when you think … but … how? Where are the people you can help? How do you find them? Where do you even start getting leads, especially if you don’t (think) you have a list??
I hear these questions ALL the time from new coaches who can’t wait to get their business up and running – and it’s true: if you don’t have clients, you don’t have a business. And without a business, you don’t have the income … and without the income, you don’t have … well, food on the table. Right?
I get it.
And that’s why today, I’m answering the BIG question: HOW do I get clients?
But do me a favor … read this one all the way to the end. (It’s important!)
Without further ado, here is my 5-Step Formula for Finding New Clients (Even If You Don’t Have a List!)
1. Nail Your Niche
Choosing a collection of people that are facing similar challenges and wanting the same results allows you to fine-tune your marketing, to make it laser-focused and effective. (Think of it this way: if you seek transformation of any kind, do you respond to people or services that market to everyone? Claiming to be able to help anyone with anything? Or do you feel more comfortable responding to a person or service that speaks to your specific problem?)
When you nail your niche, you speak to the people who need your gifts. You become known for something and then let them find out about what else you offer. It also enables you to support your clients on a deeper level.
And it doesn’t put a cap on your revenue either. I promise you, there are people out there who need you, and there are plenty in almost every niche.
When it comes to nailing your niche, it’s critical to identify a specific set of challenges your coaching can overcome, and results it can achieve. Then, you find the people who face those specific challenges, and desire those specific results. And better yet, they start to find you!
So get out a piece of paper, and start writing! Get crystal clear around the challenges you hope your clients overcome, and the results you help them get.
2. Identify Your Top 10 Strategic Referral Power Partners
The power is in the partnership! (Well, there’s a whole LOT of it there, but we know the power is really in the coaching!)
Most coaches focus their attention on finding one client at a time (which often contributes to the feast or famine model). But not only does that become exhausting, fast, but it also means that you’re spending a whole lot of time on your marketing and sales … which means you’re spending less time coaching.
Why not let others help you grow your business, so you can really make the impact you want to?
Spend a bit of time up front identifying who else (coaches, experts, speakers) serve your ideal client in a different way than you do.
When you can align with these Strategic Referral Power Partners, you can get your message in front of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of your ideal clients, all at once! That means you can increase your exposure, grow your list, and connect with people you otherwise wouldn’t ever get to meet – and help.
Go back to your piece of paper, and begin brainstorming. First, create a list of 10 professions that would be ideal partners. Then, go through your contacts or ask people you know to introduce you to people in those professions. Do a keyword search online, and then search the high results for people who specialize in the same type of work you do. Make a list of names.
3. Create the Perfect Lead Magnet
You don’t have to have an email list to get new coaching clients – but you want to start building one, because that’s how you nurture your prospects into clients. So when you’re networking, or when visitors come to your website, you need a way to capture their name and email address – and the best way to do that is to give something with value away to new prospects, as a gift. (And yes … THIS is the power of a “lead magnet”!)
A lead magnet can be an infographic, a template, script, chart, white-paper, eBook – you get the idea.
The key to a creating the Perfect Lead Magnet is that it contains education-based content that provides valuable insight, tips, and/or resources to help your ideal prospect immediately, and that begins to create momentum in that person’s journey toward his or her desired goals and results. When you give a gift like that, it also builds trust with your new contacts, and turns pressure selling into prompting!
It’s time to start thinking of what you can offer new prospects! Continue your brainstorming process on paper: it’s proven that writing down your ideas and goals increases your chances of achieving them.
What does your ideal client need – and how can you give them something that can immediately help them achieve? What can you create and share, that begins to address their biggest, most urgent problem? Share tips, resources, templates and anything that will help them move through those challenges and create momentum forward.
4. Gather Existing Contacts
Think you don’t have a list? No one who would even want your Perfect Lead Magnet? I bet you have more than you think!
Go to the various places in which you have your contacts scattered (consider them all: Gmail, Yahoo, Excel, Outlook, your smartphone, Facebook, LinkedIn, that pile of business cards on your desk).
Go through every single one and start a list of anyone you think would be helped personally OR by sharing your work with their clients, friends, or family members.
Once you’ve made your list, you’ll want to reach out to them with a friendly, warm “Dear Jane” letter. Let them know what you’re up to, how you help people, and share your lead magnet with them. Be sure to directly ask them to share it with anyone they think would benefit from it, by giving them the link to your Perfect Lead Magnet opt-in page. (Make sure that’s clear … this is how you gather prospects, right? By asking them to sign up for your Perfect Lead Magnet.)
Make sure it’s personal – these are your contacts, and they’ll love hearing from you! Share a bit about your personal life, too, and let your personality shine through!
5. Connect with Others
Instead of sitting behind your computer, isolated, get out and get connected! Trust me, being an introvert, I know it can be tempting to stay in the comfort of working from home, but you’ve got to get out there! So, here are a few ideas for you:
- Join a local networking group. Find one that meets regularly, so that you can connect with other professionals to find new leads and referrals. And be a giver! Be on the lookout for any opportunity that allows you to bring value to the group in the form of masterminding, providing new leads, and offering constructive feedback.
- Offer your expertise as a guest blogger. Make sure the article you share fits with the purpose of the blog you will share it on, and offer something that readers will get tons of value out of. Guest blogging is great, because you can share your expertise and grow your brand by tapping into someone else’s audience! (And at the end of your article, you can link to that Perfect Lead Magnet you’ve created … ta-dah! New prospects, new nurturing … new leads, new clients!)
- Join LinkedIn or Facebook groups and answer questions about your niche – get visible, and connect! Create profiles in those platforms, and make sure the information you provide is up-to-date. Import your contacts, and connect with as many people in your network as possible. Then you can share your blog posts, website, and other interesting content directly to your LinkedIn/FB newsfeed.
And there you have it! You ask how to find and get clients, and I answer!
BUT HERE’S THE THING:
If you don’t know WHAT to DO with your clients once you get them, all the “How to Get New Coaching Client” tips in the world aren’t going to help you grow your coaching biz.
Nope – not one bit!
You have to have the back-end of your coaching business ready to support your new clients – in an exquisite way – to make the difference – and the income – you want to make.
It’s simple, right?
Once you go through the steps above, you’ll have a warm lead right there in front of you … and the what?
Setting the BACK end of your business up BEFOREHAND is the difference between running your business sporadically – reactively – at best, and growing a successful, profitable business that is scalable to what you desire.
So let me ask you:
Which technique (running out and getting clients using the 5-Step Formula above versus setting up your back end so you have steps and processes already in place – automated, even! – to nurture the leads you get, so they become clients) can YOU most relate to? Which is more appealing to you, any why?
Which makes more sense to be successful?
Comment below – I LOVE hearing from you, and I read your comments! I can’t wait to respond to your thoughts and questions.