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So you want to start selling coaching? In my online coaching business, my strategy for selling coaching to my clients and guiding them toward self-improvement is their inner voice. I talk about how that voice affects their emotions and decision making. As a multi-passionate entrepreneur, and I want to help everyone, not just women, but also entrepreneurs, men, parents, and teens.

I am doing that now, but first I needed to set up a foundation for selling coaching. For three solid years, I focused on a woman’s inner voice. I became known for that, and from there I grew to work with other groups and coaching clients.

This article will help you avoid some common pitfalls for coaching, and will help you create a strong foundation for selling coaching. Your coaching clients need a structure that will build their trust in what you are providing as a coach. This article will help you create a coaching service that makes you money and will bring your coaching clients the end results that they want.

Selling Coaching: Life-Changing Tips for Your Online Business

1. The Difference Between What Your Clients Want and Need

2. Selling Coaching: What Your Clients are Willing to Spend

3. How to Start Making Money by Selling Coaching

4. What an Ideal Coaching Package Looks Like

5. Selling Coaching is Selling Yourself

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1. The Difference Between What Your Clients Want and Need

To start, gather a focus group of 5-10 people and ask them these questions:

  • What is one problem that you are facing right now?
  • What is one goal you are having a hard time reaching?
  • If you could wave a magic wand and change something about your life, what would it be?
  • How do you think I can help you as a coach?
  • What would you spend to work with a coach?
  • Do you prefer in-person intensives or group coaching?
  • Are you more interested in long-term coaching or is short-term better?

Keep these answers in mind as you choose your online coaching expertise and coaching packages.

The most important factor when selling coaching is to start with is the approach you are most confident with. You cannot be everything to everybody, so focus on one main problem and how YOU solve it. Go beyond bullet points.

Read: Online Coaching: Common Mistakes

A woman throwing her arms in the air shows the confidence it takes to start selling coaching with Selz, the Ecommerce platform for growing businesses

2. Selling Coaching: What Your Clients are Willing to Spend

One of the most challenging parts of selling coaching is breaking through the barrier of coaching for free. You never have to coach for free.

When you first launch your business, there are four challenges you are up against.

Don’t let these challenges deter you from your goal of creating a successful coaching business. Let’s take a look at how each of these difficulties is actually creating an opportunity for you to make money selling coaching.

Confidence

Let’s face it, being a coach means you exist in a saturated market. You will be the only one in your own way, and until you gain confidence in your coaching approach, it’s going to be hard to gain your client’s confidence. Reality is, you only have to be two steps ahead of your client to be able to coach them. Repeat this as often as possible before getting on a call with a potential client.

Experience

We all start somewhere, and your lack of experience may motivate you to give away your time and talent for free. You are going to have to get your feet wet, and that might mean that your first round of clients may not be paying cash, but there are several options to compensate you for the energy you are investing.

Assumptions

Break the barrier that society often puts on coaching by comparing coaches with traditional therapists, doctors, recruiters, or trainers.

The assumptions around coaching are that it is either corny or a waste of money. This stigma is actually creating an opportunity for selling coaching. In your marketing, speak directly to your client’s fear through your coaching website, blog, newsletter, or social media posts.

Caring

The caring nature that brought you to this line of work is what is going to connect you to your customer. They want you to be their guide, but they also want to relate to you. Instead of giving away your advice for free during initial communication, take that time to share an example from your life that relates to what they are going through. Your gift can become your curse if you don’t set boundaries that ensure the success of your business.

By being honest and vulnerable, you are creating a safe space for them to do the same – and this is key for IMPACTFUL coaching. When you do this, it is significant for your client’s growth and it makes them more likely to return to you as their life journey continues. It’s not just one hurdle that you are helping them through. Life has continuous twists and turns, and by effectively selling coaching you are a resource for your clients – for life.

Read: 4 Steps in Pursuit of Happiness and Success

Two women talking intently shows the relationshop you build with your coaching clients when you are selling coaching online

3. How to Start Making Money by Selling Coaching

The maximum you should offer for free is a discovery session email and a 30-minute phone consultation. Don’t let it discourage you if coaching clients do not buy your service right away. Instead, ask for their permission and add them to your mailing list, and then put them in your calendar for a follow-up, about three months after your initial outreach.

Have you already started coaching? If you have clients that aren’t paying or are paying less than you’d like, draw up a contract, and have them commit to at least two ways they can help your business. Here are a few ideas:

  • Written or video testimonial
  • Refer you to a paying client
  • Buy a product from you
  • Share your post on social media

There are always options to exchange your coaching for something that will benefit the long-run of your business. You never have to coach for free, even if you are a new coach.

Create a Budget for Your Online Business

Go back to the answers you got from your focus group. What is the range of money that coaching clients are willing to spend weekly? Monthly? Use these numbers to form a budget for your business. Calculate what you need to sustain your own life, including business costs like travel, marketing, and printing costs.

Read: How to Optimize Your Small Business Budget

4. What an Ideal Coaching Package Looks Like

Determine what problem are you solving for your clients. Does your coaching help your clients get better at networking? Do they want to lose their extra baby weight? Are you a strong coach for management skill building? Make the results of your coaching, not the features, the focus of each coaching package that you sell.

You also need to decide a time frame that is right for you and your clients – not what other coaches are doing. Trust your gut, ask yourself how many sessions feels right to you and plan their duration accordingly – 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, and so on. A three-month online coaching program may sound like a great idea, but might be too much of a commitment for a new client, especially when you’re just starting out.

The more specific you can be, the less room you leave for your prospective client to talk themselves out of working with you. You don’t want your clients to have to fill in the blank about anything. Take a look at this list for selling coaching packages:

  • Do you suggest meeting weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?
  • Will there be additional support via e-mail, phone or text?
  • How will your sessions progress?
  • Is there a theme for each session? This is important for packages that are 3 months or longer.

Read: Coaching Worksheets and Ebooks for Online Coaching

A man celebrates a personal visctory, one of the many rewards of selling coaching and making a difference for your coaching clients

5. Selling Coaching is Selling Yourself

Once you get clear on your online coaching packages, it’s time to let your prospective clients know the specific benefits and outcomes of working with you. Your coaching packages and your website are a chance to let your client see what life will be like after working with you. Use an ecommerce platform to show your professional experience and to sell your coaching packages.

Your sales page is the space where you expand on your approach and gain your customer’s trust. The more familiar they are with your approach, the more likely coaching clients are to buy your service.  Go back to the problem you are solving for them, reiterate just that on the sales page of your website. You’ll also want to add a blog to your online store so you can build authority with potential coaching clients. In every communication, make sure to give them an opportunity to contact you for coaching services.

Coaching can be your most cost-effective marketing resource. Remember that every great coaching session can mean that your client will share the value of your coaching with their network.

You’ll also want to make sure to announce that you are selling coaching to everyone on your subscriber list, all of your social media followers, and consider targeted promotions on Instagram and Facebook. On average, a potential client needs to come across your message 6 times before investing their money.

Read: How to Promote a Product in 10 Different Ways

Everything we buy, every place we visit, and every coach we hire helps us achieve a certain feeling. We all want to feel important and happy, accomplished and healthy, organized and confident (among other things). Remember that when you are selling coaching, you are making a difference.

This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

About the author

Sahar Paz

Sahar Paz is the CEO of Own Your Voice Strategy firm. She is also a keynote speaker and has delivered inspirational keynotes at organizations including HBO and Facebook.

When she is not inspiring others, Sahar loves to salsa dance!

3 comments

  1. Terrance

    Thanks Sarah,
    I stumbled upon this article at just the right time. I am in the process of building a business that will likely include an opportunity to coach new UX designers. I’ve been struggling with how to covert the advice i give into paying client. Your words and thoughts are very helpful and provide great insights into how i should move forward.

    1. Kristen DeCosta

      Thanks for your comment Terrance! I am so glad you found this article so helpful to your current situation. That’s our goal here at FounderU. Stay tuned, we’ll have more articles coming out in this series that will definitely help you!

    2. Sahar Paz

      Hey Terrance!

      I’m so happy to hear that my words found you in the right time.

      I’m sure you have a lot of valuable knowledge to share or this opportunity to coach would not have come your way. No matter what you charge, draw up a contract, so that you and your client, understand you mean business! Keep coming back to FounderU – more to come from this series!

      – Sahar

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