People buy a toaster from people they don’t know. They prefer buying a toaster from someone they don’t know. They will buy it online from a search or pick it up at Wal-Mart and use the self-checkout. They need to be sold on how this toaster is better than the one right next to it.
People buy coaching from people they do know. They prefer hiring someone they know, like, and trust. They want to hire someone they already have some connection with. You don’t want to sell them on coaching. You want to offer them a partnership.
The most common way I encourage coaches to get clients is by making a list of ten people they would LOVE to be coaching and then ask them to be your client. Choose from people who know you or people who know who you are (Jerusalem or Judea). Choose people who are dynamic and are doing something that personally excites you. Choose people who don’t necessarily need you as a coach but who would benefit from you as a coach.
You aren’t looking for someone who desperately needs your help, and you aren’t looking for someone who wants to hire you for a position. You are looking for a relationship, a partnership, someone you can come along side. This is closer to a partnership than a hire.
Write an email like you would write to a close friend. A close friend understands that they aren’t hiring you, they are partnering with you. Anything that sounds “salesy” is going to sound fake to your friend. Though it isn’t a friendship you are looking for, thinking this way will help you write a more effective email.
1. Describe their situation
“Hey Brian, I love the new venture you are starting. I can see your fingerprints all over it. You’ve always had a heart for developing people. This work is going to change lives.”
• Don’t make it cookie cutter, filling in blanks.
• Don’t lie. If you don’t mean it, don’t write it.
2. Propose a relationship
“As you may know, I’ve started a coaching practice which helps people go from where they are to where they want to go. I think this could benefit you. Would you be interested in a coaching relationship?”
• Don’t ask if they would like to hire you as their coach.
• Don’t offer a package. Offer a relationship.
3. Describe the benefits
“My clients tend to benefit from coaching in a few different ways. They have a clear plan to achieve their goals. They move around obstacles quicker. They identify ways they are holding themselves back. And they learn how to navigate work relationships better.”
• Don’t write paragraphs on the benefits. Name them in simple bullets.
• Don’t exaggerate. Delete adjectives like faster, better, and more. Your benefits should be more distinct than just offering “better”.
4. Give a simple action step
“I’d love to partner with you on this journey. Let me know if you’re interested.”
• Don’t describe your coaching packages.
• Don’t offer a free session.
• Don’t guarantee that a “No” answer won’t hurt the relationship. If that’s not true, you aren’t going to get this client.
We get nervous about asking people to be our clients. We hide behind salesy language. We offer incentivized packages. We assume they will probably say “No.”
The truth is people want coaching. They want it from someone they know, like, and trust. They don’t like being out there on their own, and you are offering to journey beside them without taking over. You will give them confidence. You don’t get that from an employee. You get it from a partner.
Write an email that communicates this kind of relationship. Let me know how it goes.