Selling Your Services: The #1 Mistake Coaches Make During Enrollment Conversations

The client journey—from lead to prospect to client, and all the steps in between—comprises several stages. The first happens when you attract that lead. Now that you’ve seen our lead generation funnel diagram (if you haven’t seen it yet, grab it here), you may be taking a bit of a breather to bask in the relief of knowing how to begin finding leads you don’t already know. Ahhh. That feels good!


All right, it’s time to stop basking, and consider your next step.

Once you’ve attracted a lead, and nurtured him or her into being a prospect, it’s time for the sample session. This isn’t just any coaching session. This is a specifically designed conversation that has coaching in it of course. But the real conversation you’re having is an enrollment conversation. You probably know an enrollment conversation should give prospects a taste of the transformation that’s possible when you work together. And if you don’t, we’ll we have some resources for that as well.

But there’s one other major job an enrollment conversation has, and that is to convert prospects to clients. To get that “yes.”

It’s not to provide great coaching! Yes, there is great coaching within the conversation, but the major job is to convert prospects to their yes! If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a million times: a smart, talented coach making this one critical mistake during enrollment conversations that I’m about to share with you. This mistake sabotages your chances of enrolling people into your programs, and stops you from making the impact and profit you want to make with your coaching business. And if you’ve ever answered, “I’m a coach,” when someone asks you what you do … or explained which assessments you use to determine someone’s personality … or talked only about the packages you offer … or done a lot of great coaching, providing great value, but the person still didn’t hire you … Then you’ve made this mistake!

You see, people aren’t buying your services. Nobody buys a coaching program or a series of phone calls. Let me repeat that: Nobody buys a coaching program or a series of phone calls.

I know that might hurt to hear, but it’s the truth you need to know if you want to get clients! People don’t buy coaching.


What do they buy? A transformation.

So, if you’re explaining your packages, programs, and services rather than showcasing the transformation your coaching provides, then you’re leaving money on the table and opportunities at the door and you’re working way harder than you have to. By now, you’ve probably heard me say that I never want to hear you say you’re a coach. You may be thinking, “Wait. But I am a coach! So what do I say when someone asks me what I do?” To illustrate, I’d like to share my Pain Island/Pleasure Island Diagram. On one side, you’ll see Pain Island, which is where your clients are, now, along with the biggest challenges they’re facing, where they’re stuck and what’s keeping them up at night when they can’t sleep. On the other side, Pleasure Island, where your clients want to be, along with the results they want, their goals—their deepest desires. And in the middle: the boat. The boat is a visual representation of your packages, programs, and services. It’s the vehicle by which your clients will get from Pain Island (out of the challenges and stuck spots they’re facing) to Pleasure Island (getting their desired goals and results). This is where I want to caution you: don’t sell the boat!

Repeat after me: “DON’T SELL THE BOAT!”

You see, selling the boat—telling prospects about your services—isn’t effective, because people don’t buy services! They buy a transformation.


So what DO you sell?

You sell the transformation—the results and experiences they desire once they arrive on Pleasure Island.

That way, you’re inviting people to step into your boat, by focusing on the transformation your clients will experience when they do! Then, you present yourself, your packages, and your programs as the solution to reaching that transformation and their results. The enrollment conversation then can be structured into three sections:

Helping the prospect get CLEAR on Pain Island and Pleasure Island and how it’s impacting their life.

Helping your prospect define their COMMITMENT level to taking the journey.

Presenting your CHOICES of packages, offerings, and so on.

Here are some examples of the transformation some entrepreneurs provide:

A tennis coach who works with tennis players who want to serve better and win games might say, “I help tennis players improve their serves, so they can win their matches and tournaments.”

A specialty dog trainer might say, “I help dog owners train their dogs effectively, so they can live in harmony with their furry friends.”

Here at TCC, we say, “We help start-up coaches systemize their businesses, so they can get more clients and make more money and make an impact.”

So now that you understand what we mean by “selling the journey,” let’s apply your new knowledge to your specific situation. Below, we’ve created a worksheet designed to help you identify your clients’ Pain Island challenges, the Pleasure Island results they desire, and how to talk about your role in their journey from Pain Island to Pleasure Island … so they can’t wait to work with you!


Worksheet

4 Questions to Nail Your Niche

Ask the following questions; the answers you record will help you identify your ideal prospects’ top challenges and desires—and the best way to describe how you can help them get from Pain Island to Pleasure Island. What are the top three challenges your clients experience? What are the thoughts that keep them up at night? 

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How is this impacting their life? In what ways do their challenges have a negative impact on their life? 

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What are your client’s top three greatest desires in terms of solving these challenges? Which are the specific results they want? If they had a magic wand and money was no object, what are the things they yearn for? What do they want to be, do, experience, or have in this area? 

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When your clients achieve those results or desires you mentioned in your answer to the previous question, how will they FEEL? How will this positively impact their life? 

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With these answers, you’ve narrowed in on your ideal prospects’ Pain Island challenges and Pleasure Island results. Now, you can fill in this template to answer the question:

“So … what do you do?”

“Through my [INSERT DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES, i.e. “Coaching”], I help [INSERT IDEAL CLIENT] stop [INSERT PAIN ISLAND CHALLENGE] and start experiencing [INSERT PLEASURE ISLAND RESULTS].”


See what you just did there?

Instead of selling the boat—or your services—you’re positioning or presenting and selling a transformation … and your ideal clients will be happy to get on board because they want what you’re offering—the result! Now, if while working through this exercise, you’ve thought about your enrollment conversations, because you think you’ve made this “selling the boat” mistake during those conversations, too, I have something special for you! Check out this crazy, funny video of an enrollment conversation role-playing exercise I did with my Coaches Console co-founder Kate Steinbacher at our Lifestyle LIVE! event in February. We had this conversation to illustrate where enrollment conversations often go wrong … it’s actually hilarious, and you’ll have a good laugh! Check out how Kate (playing the coach) did her best to “sell” herself to me (playing the client) … and it’s okay if you laugh out loud. We know you’re not laughing at us … you’re laughing with us! 😉

Have YOU Ever Said These Things During An Enrollment Conversation?


The #1 Mistake Coaches Make During Enrollment Conversations

Enrollment conversations can be tricky! We SO get it.

If, as a coach with a heart for making an impact, you go into an enrollment conversation feeling like you’re having a sales conversation, you may feel uncomfortable.

In fact, things might go south, very quickly.

To illustrate what sometimes happens to coaches during enrollment conversations, my friend Kate Steinbacher, co-founder of The Coaches Console, and I put on a little demonstration this past February, during Lifestyle LIVE! our first-ever live event.

It was so well received by our audience members—coaches who could see themselves in Kate’s wonderful (funny) role-playing—that I decided to share it with you. (Ok, really, it’s pretty hilarious!)

It’s all about the one main mistake coaches make during enrollment conversations—and, of course, how to avoid it.

Watch it here:

When watch the video, you’ll be able to see where Kate goes wrong, and how Melinda, who’s playing the part of a potential client—struggles to see what kind of transformation might be possible through coaching with Kate.

We’ve seen this exact thing happen to so many brilliant, talented coaches—coaches who have so much to offer but who make one major mistake that stops them from being able to share their gifts.

The awesome news—once you watch the video, you’ll know how to communicate with your prospects!