As you navigate the early stages of launching your coaching business, you’re probably receiving a ton of advice … advice about marketing and client support, and, of course, about how to attract leads and convert them to clients so you can fill your practice.
You probably know that not all advice is created equal.
That’s why I wanted to share the single most important advice I received when I was starting my own coaching practice. It’s advice I’ve followed again and again throughout my career as a coach and as I launched and grew The Coaches Console alongside my business partner Kate Steinbacher.
But first, a story …
When I first started my coaching practice in 2003, I attended Coach U, a training school founded by Thomas Leonard, the official maker of the coaching world.
He’d died about a year before I started attending the school, but as part of my training, I was listening to a recording he’d made during a class run by one of the Coach U employees, Sandy.
In it, Thomas shared a formula that outlined how many people you had to talk to, in order to get a certain number of clients to sign on with you.
Although this isn’t the actual formula he used, here’s an example: If you want to get 10 clients, you have to have 20 meetings. If you want to have 20 meetings, you have to call 100 people.
He said, “The more people you meet with, the more yeses you get.”
And I realized: this advice wasn’t exclusive to meeting with people. It was bigger than that.
It was about consistency.
Specifically, by taking consistent, intentional action (in this case, meeting with a certain number of people), a business owner can create the results she wants in her business (in this case, filling my practice).
I decided to meet with as many people as possible. And, to increase the effectiveness of my meetings, I was sure to prepare in advance. I met with people who were potential ideal clients, or who could help me find my ideal clients. And I met with a lot of them.
Here’s how the process looked—and the results it yielded:
I set up an “office” in a local coffee shop, Roanoke Mountain Coffee Shop. Twice or three times each week, for three months, I’d spend four, five, or six hours at the coffee shop.
My first appointment would come in and meet me for coffee, and we’d talk about how I could help—whether it was through coaching, or referrals, or simply by sharing information. That person would leave, I wouldn’t move, and my next appointment would come in and have lunch with me. Again, we’d talk, that person would leave, I wouldn’t move, and my next appointment would come in.
As I mentioned, I prepared in advance for each meeting: I always researched the people I was meeting with, so I could learn what I could about them. Then, when we sat down together, we could dive into the meat of the conversation right away. And although I was looking to build my business, and fill it with clients, I focused more on generosity: seeking ways I could support these people in the challenges they were facing at the time.
That might mean giving them advice about a book or article I found helpful, or about another professional who might be able to help them. It might mean I introduced them to someone else. No matter what, I always offered value.
And because of that, they were quick to reciprocate and find ways to help me.
Some of the people I met with turned into clients, some turned into referral sources or JV partners, and others turned into friends.
When I heard, “No,” I didn’t take it personally because I knew my consistency would pay off.
It worked! Even though my hair and clothes constantly smelled like coffee, even though I drank so much of it I couldn’t even stomach it any more, it worked.
Person by person, referral source by referral source, client by client, I filled and built my coaching business. There was (and is) magic in the numbers.
This was MY system for converting and enrolling people, and because I employed the most important advice I ever received—be consistent!—my business growth flowed fast.