Should you market your coaching business?
You want to grow your coaching business. But turning prospective clients into paying clients is easier said than done. Here is a way to be proactive.

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus
Even small businesses like yours can benefit from marketing. Creating a process of engagement that leads to investment by building Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Loyalty, and then Advocacy, sets your coaching business up to grow. 

Create a Marketing Funnel

creating a marketing funnel

One of the lessons I learned when I launched my coaching practice was to find a mentor to share with me what he did to grow his network.  By far, the best pieces of  advice he gave me was to begin with my database and categorize my coaching client prospects as follows:

A – Curious Prospect

B – Prospective Client

C – Current Client

D – Returning Client

E – Referral Partner

These categories or stages of engagement help you track where people are at in your “pipeline”. They also can be easily translated into a marketing funnel by looking at what you are trying to build at each level. 

A – Curious Prospect – AWARENESS

B – Prospective Client – CONSIDERATION

C – Current Client – CONVERSION

D – Returning Client – LOYALTY

E – Referral Partner – ADVOCACY 

Maintaining this funnel and identifying next steps provides a map to track and follow as you help prospects become clients and on to referral partners.  Your marketing funnel becomes a helpful way to focus your marketing plan.

What are you building at each stage in your marketing funnel?

It is one thing to create a marketing funnel – it is another to fill it!  Here are ways to build out each stage of your marketing funnel as you create raving fans for your coaching business or ministry.  

A – AWARENESS

Curious Prospect: This is the top, the widest part, of your funnel. You can consider people who don’t know you or what you do as outside of the funnel. It is helpful to do this from the perspective of your ideal client. When marketing your first goal is to catch their attention, make them stop and wonder who you are and what you do. You aren’t giving the whole picture here, just helping people slow down enough to become aware you exist. When you have gained this awareness you now have a curious prospect. 

Key Question

  • How can you build awareness of your coaching business in others?

Reflection

  • What are some current struggles you are seeing in people you would like to work with?
  • How are you uniquely equipped to help them?
  • What experience do you have in these areas? 

Action Steps

    • Write down your thoughts from the reflection questions above. 
    • Brainstorm ways you can communicate that you see and understand their struggle and have a way to help.
    • Narrow it down to eye or ear catching phrases.

B – CONSIDERATION

Prospective Client: Once someone has awareness of you and what you can do you need to immediately show them that there is more to you. People who are curious will often start googling. They want to know more about how you can help them and more about coaching. A prospective client is likely to do research, get opinions, and compare options. This is when you unpack how you can help. This is also a longer stage than the Awareness stage. Marketing and sales experts say it takes an average of 8 touches to make a sale so it is important to think about how you can cultivate continued interest and when and how to close the deal. 

Key Question

  • How can you cultivate a high degree of confidence in your coaching services from prospective clients?

Reflection

  • How can you demonstrate that what you offer is worth consideration?
  • What articles or blogs can you share with prospective clients?
  • What can you do to get in front of them?

Action Steps

    • Brainstorm strategies to continue conversations you have started.
    • Ask permission to add readers to your blog mailing list.
    • Offer a free coaching session.

C – CONVERSION

Current Client: Once you have turned a prospective client into a signed client the work begins. It’s time to prove your value and help your client get the results you promised. Take time to listen and learn so you can customize your coaching to the key issues your client is facing. Ensure that your client walks away from every interaction with you with valuable insight and a plan to implement it in their context.

Key Question

  • What is the next step I need to take in the contracting process?

Reflection

  • What do you need to clarify to agree to work together?
  • Who can you provide as references?
  • How do you describe your typical coaching process from preparation through completion of the appointment?

Action Steps

    • Create a coach proposal. 
    • Debrief a proposal with your prospective client.
    • Secure the coach-client relationship in a contract.

D – LOYALTY

Returning Client: Clients that connect progress to their coaching relationship with you will invest beyond their original commitment. Your strategy to build loyalty in your coaching clients will involve demonstrating your ability to adapt your approach to fit their needs, helping them expand their vision and identify next step goals.  

Key Questions

  • What value add can I offer to current and former clients?

Reflection

  • How can you provide added value to a specific client?
  • What are three ways to re-engage former clients?
  • Who have you promised to send a resource to today?

Action Steps

    • Communicate with former clients.
    • Regularly review where people are in your pipeline.
    • Pick-up the phone and call a client you have not spoken to recently.

E – ADVOCACY

Referral Partner: The majority of my coaching clients come from referrals. When you have proven to help your clients successfully navigate through problems to achieve their goals time and again, they will recommend you when their friends and colleagues need help. The key on your part is consistency and proving you have capacity for additional clients (that working with others won’t change the quality of coaching they receive). When those pieces are in place, you can ask for references and referrals with confidence!  

Key Question

  • Who are the people that are constantly referring you new business?

Reflection

  • How will you ask for referrals?
  • When will you ask for referrals?
  • Who do you need to thank for a referral?

Action Steps

    • Pray and discern who to approach for referrals.
    • Send a gift when a referral partner sends you a coaching client.
    • Ask clients at the end of a coaching engagement: Who do you know who needs help in _____ ?

Contact Relationship Management (CRM)

If you have not found a CRM system that works for you here is the one I use: Less Annoying CRM (gotta love the name).  What I appreciate is the ease of use when creating marketing funnels.  Remember, the goal with any CRM is to strengthen the relationship!  

Reflection Questions to Move Your Coaching Prospects to Raving Fans

  1. Who do you know that has a thriving coaching practice?
  2. What are they doing?
  3. What needs to change in your marketing process?
  4. What has worked to grow your marketing funnel?
  5. What is getting in the way of moving from Awareness to Advocacy?
  6. What’s one thing that will have the biggest impact to fill your pipeline?
  7. How can you grow your pipeline this week?  Today?  Now?

One of the best ways to clarify expectations is in a coach proposal.  Use this FREE Coach Agreement template as a framework to follow in creating your next coach proposal.  CLICK HERE to download your file.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Photo by Parker Byrd on Unsplash

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