Monetize Your Expertise: A Step-by-step Process to Sell Your Coaching Services
Jennifer had just started her own coaching business focusing on team development and leadership. In this new venture, she capitalized on her sphere of influence from her previous work in financial institutions. She honed her public speaking skills and networked morning, noon and night. She developed relationships, met with decision-makers and booked free speaking engagements, but she was not effective at moving the conversation forward into a sale.
Does the above narrative ring true for you?
Have you been in front of prospective clients, where at the end of the conversation, they said, “Let me think it over” or “I will get back to you?” Have you found you are making friends, but these friendships are not generating new business?
Jennifer admits to “hating the sales game.” This unfortunate mindset is typical for our profession. But coaching is an integral part of a thriving society. When people are coached, they start a positive ripple effect with others in their network. By not learning how to sell your services, you are keeping dozens of clients from benefiting from your coaching services. However, don’t be dismayed. You can overcome your limiting beliefs, your perspectives that no longer serve, and you can calm the voice of the inner critic.
Here is a proven formula for a successful sales conversation. Let’s set the stage: You are in front of prospects who have known problems that they want to solve:
- Ask them to share about their desired situation. What do they want? Listen deeply and ask questions predicated upon their last answer. Get beyond the superficial details, facts and opinions, and discover the real meaning of what they want and how it will make a difference in their life. (Core Competency #8 Creating Awareness)
- Do not start coaching. This is the biggest bugaboo for coaches. At this point, they start coaching, and the whole sales conversation goes sideways.
- Once you have allowed your prospects to express their desired results, ask what has limited them from experiencing these results in the past. Coax them to go beyond a superficial answer. Listen deeply to what they perceive has kept them from having their desired result. Do not start coaching. Listen empathically. Do your best to refrain from telling any stories about how you relate or how you have helped others.
- Ask them, “What is at stake if nothing changes?” This is the most crucial question. This is where you will find out if they are serious about solving their problem. If nothing is a stake…This is not a prospective client right now. Timing is everything. They may come back to you when they are ready. If they are vulnerable and honest and ready to make a change, you’ll hear some real answers. You want to be so open that they will share with you what is at stake, i.e., “I will not achieve my goals” or “I could lose my job.” This is a powerful question (Core Competency #6). Keep your coaching presence (Core Competency #4) of being fully conscious and confident as they share.
- Ask them, “What is your sense of urgency?” This is a tremendously important question. They may say, “I need to immediately take action,” or they may say, “I have other priorities, and this is probably something I need to look at next quarter.” Now you know.
- Ask your final question, “What is the next step?” (Core Competency #10 Planning and Goal Setting) Realize you are following a formula to find out if this client is ready and willing to engage in your services. Caution: Most coaches start telling right here. Please refrain from this activity. This is time for your prospective client to tell you what they think/feel the next step is for them. If you did an outstanding job, they may well say “Let’s get started!” or “How much do you charge?” or “Please send me a proposal.” Be ready for these questions: Roleplay your answers repeatedly. If they do ask you for a proposal, please email me for a checklist of things you must find out before you send a proposal. You are not in the proposal writing business. This may be a topic for another article!
Out of desperation, Jennifer started following this process. It took discipline because she found out that during a sales conversation, she started coaching, sharing stories and statistics, and did not follow a process. That is why she was NOT closing business. But by using this process, Jennifer started closing business for the exact type of business she wanted. She also started getting paid speaking engagements.
What is your next step to monetize your expertise?
Connie Kadansky, MCC, will be exploring this topic more in-depth at ICF Converge 2019, which is taking place October 23-26 in Prague, Czech Republic. Join her session “Coaching Excellence Meets Prosperity” in the Build content group on Friday, October 25 at 11 a.m. (local time). By attending this session, you can earn 1.0 RD in Continuing Coach Education units.