If I had to do it all over again, and I could choose any business, I’d choose to be a marketing business coach. Coaching is one of the most rewarding careers. You get to spend your days helping people achieve success in their business or life. And your earning potential is limitless.
Did I mention that it doesn’t feel like a job? It feels like a vacation.
But getting to this point has not been without its challenges. I’ve made many mistakes and lost clients as a result. I’ve taken on the wrong clients. I’ve wasted time on coaching programs that didn’t work and didn’t feed my soul.
It’s really only been in the last two years that my team and I have refined our coaching program to the six-figure business it is today. And I’ve decided to share our process with you, because I want you to succeed. I want your coaching clients to get the best out of their sessions with you.
So let’s get into the five ways I bring in over $50K a month in coaching revenue.
Step 1: How we convert clients
If you want to convert more people to customers, you need to be having more conversations more regularly because conversations lead to conversions.
Through conversation you’re able to identify problems early, answer your prospects’ questions, and overcome objections. Then you can use this information to deliver a world-class experience. Here’s what you need to know.
Start with conversations.
1: ENGAGE LEADS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
Whether you like it or not you need to be on social media. But make sure you choose a social network that your clients are active on. My team monitors social media chatter. They post a ton of value-add content and they engage with people all the time.
Anyone who expresses interest in my coaching program or who looks like a good fit is loaded into my PipeDrive Coaching Lead Board. But first, my team will check to see if this person is legitimate. Basically, we want to know:
- Do they have a company website?
- How many people do they employ?
- Where are they based?
- What field are they in?
While we’ve coached entrepreneurs from all walks of life, we do have a sweet spot. For example, most of my coaching clients are in ecommerce, tech, medicine or dentistry, and law. These are clients that we know we can get results for, and quickly.
Someone who’s an artist wouldn’t be a good fit. We don’t really know that industry, and it would be a lot more work for me and my team.
So knowing whom you work best with is important. If you need help identifying which media channels your target audience is active on, read this blog on market segmentation and finding your target audience.
2: Write lead-generating blogs.
In the past, most of my coaching clients have come through my email list and word-of-mouth. We’ve had a few that had heard me on a podcast or had read about me in the news, but generally these are individuals who had bought my book, read it, joined my mailing list, and eventually asked to be coached.
SEO has changed that. I started writing blogs detailing the benefits of coaching, the difference between group and individual coaching, and how to build your coaching business, and it led to an influx of new coaching leads.
So creating educational content has been super helpful in attracting more high-value leads. But I don’t just write the blog. I added a bonus worksheet which readers can download. In exchange I ask for their email address.
Anyone who opts-in or completes the coaching form is funneled into my PipeDrive Coaching Leads Board, and someone in my team will be in touch to continue the conversation.
- So think about how you can attract high-value leads?
- What do they care about?
- What are their frequently asked questions?
3: Respond to emails.
For me, email support is vital. I constantly get emails from people on my list saying I can’t believe you’re actually responding. Email delivers 40x the return of any other advertising media—make sure you’re using it properly.
You might not close a sale the first time you interact with a prospect. Or the second or third, But if they fall within your target audience, and you nurture that relationship, they may eventually commit.
If you don’t have time to monitor your mail, get a virtual assistant to do it. My communications manager monitors my inbox. She’ll identify potential coaching leads and flag these for Claire, my sales director, to follow up with. We’ve connected Ontraport to Pipedrive, so by adding a tag, the information and the email chain is automatically captured.
Claire can then see the conversation chain and set up a call.
Are you using email to its maximum potential? Learn all the tricks of the trade by clicking the link.
Follow up with prospects.
Following up is key to closing more sales. You need to build a relationship. Demonstrate your abilities and win their trust. Otherwise, it’s unlikely they’ll commit.
So once we’ve identified a coaching lead, their details and all past conversations are loaded into our PipeDrive Leads Board which looks a little something like this screenshot below. Before we created this pipeline, my team had everything on an Excel spreadsheet.
Now, Claire, my COO, can see who are new leads, who’s been responded to, if a call is scheduled, if someone has said yes to coaching and has paid.
So, at a glance, she knows whom to reach out to, whom to follow up with, and when to move on. And it’s quick and easy to shift someone from lead in, to response sent, or call scheduled.
Without this board, we wouldn’t know how often we’ve engaged with a lead, and where they are in the buyer’s cycle. We wouldn’t be able to see the entire conversation chain at a glance. In the past, this led to confusion, unhappy prospects, and high churn rates.
Now, everything is clearly mapped out. It’s clear who is responsible for each step. So really, it’s changed the way we shortlist coaching leads, and of course, it’s increased our conversion rate.
It’s something I’d really encourage you to add if you’re thinking about starting or building your coaching business. Having a pipeline of prospects and knowing where they are in the buyer’s journey is vital.
Jump on a discovery call.
This is the final step before converting a prospect into a customer. By now, we’ve done our due diligence. We’ve gone through our PipeDrive Template for incoming leads and the action items we need to take.
My team knows who falls into our coaching lane and whether they can afford us. They’ve responded to our emails.
All that’s left to do is to set up a discovery call.
Having that system in place saves you time and money. You’re still going to get a few people who either can’t afford you or aren’t the right fit for your coaching, but it will be far less than if you weren’t using this system.
Step 2: How we start with a strong experience
Your first interaction with a potential coaching client sets the tone for the entire relationship. That’s why it’s so important to deliver a strong experience.
There are two ways we do just that, and this is a process that my coaching team has refined over the years.
Start things out right with an onboarding questionnaire.
I used to field all incoming coaching requests. I’d put together an email explaining the benefits of coaching, the time commitment, whatever. Included was a link to my coaching calendar for those who wanted to book a discovery call.
Quickly, I found I was jumping onto hour-long conversations with people who just wanted to pick my brain. They weren’t actually serious about investing in coaching. You may have experienced this too.
To solve this problem, the team and I came up with an onboarding questionnaire. It’s a series of questions that my team uses to gain invaluable insight into a prospective client’s business.
You want to do a deep dive into:
- What industry they are in?
- What are the challenges they face?
- What is the structure of their business?
- How do they problem solve?
- Who implements the action points?
- How big is their team?
- Where do they see themselves in a year’s time?
I use this questionnaire to get an understanding of where my clients are now, where they need to be in six months, and what their potential roadblocks are. So what’s going to keep us from getting results?
Knowing this information helps me to gauge whether the prospect would be a good fit for coaching and what measures we’d need to implement to keep moving the needle. So don’t be scared to ask tough questions.
And if they’re not the right fit, point them to a resource that could benefit them now.
Agree on an expectations contract.
The next step is to agree on an expectations contract. Now, this isn’t a contract written by lawyers, it’s a document that:
- Ensures we know the best way to get in touch with the client
- Helps the client understand how communication works with us
This document covers:
- What we do and don’t do
- How we work with the client and what tools they need
- Our available hours and how long it takes to get back to their queries
- What to expect during a coaching session
- How we hold clients accountable
- What needs to be done to achieve 90-day goals
Each client is assigned a dedicated coach and an Asana board with deliverables. They can also set up weekly coaching calls, and get unlimited access to all our standard operating procedures. It’s how we help them stay committed.
So how can you deliver a great first impression?
Step 3: How we move them along
If you’re not moving your client along, you’re wasting their time and your own.
It used to be that when I’d jump on a coaching call, we’d discuss problem areas, I’d ask what kind of goals my clients wanted to achieve, and we’d agree on a strategy and the next steps to move things forward.
Then we’d set up a meeting for the same time the next week to see how they were progressing. Sometimes a week, two weeks, even a month would go by with very little to show for it.
Maybe they’d get stuck, or they’d be spinning too many plates, or they didn’t have the people power to implement, but things just weren’t getting done.
I tried the usual “coaching” tools like accountability buddies, reminders, pushing, but nothing worked. I’d be frustrated and the client would be frustrated. And within six months, they’d cancel coaching services because they weren’t getting a result. Something had to change.
Clients pay you to help them get results. But if they’re not putting in the time or implementing your teachings, you might as well call it quits.
To avoid having to do this, my team and I devised a coaching roadmap. It’s changed the way we do business. It’s also ensured that the lifetime value of a coaching client has substantially increased.
You can create something similar.
This is my 7-step framework for delivering a world-class coaching service:
1: Detailed Diagnostic
Start with a detailed diagnostic. This is a questionnaire that tackles:
- A quick overview of the client’s business
- Their business model and structure
- Their current marketing and sales strategy
- Whether or not they have a team
- The systems they use
- Cash flow management
The point of this call is to get an understanding of where the coaching client is right now—what are their current roadblocks, goals, and future plans? And what does success look like for them?
Knowing this will influence any decisions you make, as well as the type of results you’re able to achieve.
2: Gap Analysis
The next step in the process is to perform a gap analysis. It leads you through an examination of where the client is now versus where they want to be. This is a very important distinction.
Coaching clients can have very unrealistic ideas of what can be achieved in a month or two. If they’re a one-person show, and you’re asking them to spend time building their LinkedIn following, redo their website, and start an email campaign, you’ll break them.
It’s just not possible. So you need to work together to identify and bridge the gaps between these two states to achieve their business goals.
Part of the gap analysis is to identify whether your client needs a team. Business is a team sport. Entrepreneurs can’t do it alone. They can try, but it’ll take them far longer to scale.
At Successwise, we help our clients build their internal marketing capabilities for lasting, sustainable growth. And we do that by consulting, hiring, onboarding, and strategizing with the client and their new team.
So depending on what your coaching business is, you may need to consider if your client can achieve results on their own or if they need help.
4: 90-Day Goals
I’ve found that to keep momentum and motivation high, clients need a mix of short-term and long-term goals. And achieving small wins are a vital part of the coaching process.
So it’s vital that you nail down 90-day goals and keep track of them over the course of your consulting. The best way to track their progress is with a project management tool like Asana. We have a coaching board so my team and I know exactly what to do when and how we’re progressing towards goals.
5: Strategic Plan
Next, you want to build a strategy—and it’s not about stringing together a bunch of random tactics. Strategy is the big-picture planning that will become the foundation of your client’s business.
During this stage, we help our clients create a strategic plan using The 1-Page Marketing Plan framework. Yours might be a content plan, a workout program and nutrition plan, whatever.
6: Tactical Plan
Once you’ve agreed on your strategic plan, you’ll need to break it up into a tactical plan. These are the actions they need to take. Here’s what ours looks like:
- Tools: This is where we choose appropriate tools that will help our clients run and scale their businesses more efficiently.
- Assets: We’ll work together on building and managing their marketing assets—so their websites, blogs, email lists and so on.
- Processes: We help our clients create processes they need to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis because persistence beats creative genius every time.
Start jotting down the steps you’d want your clients to take.
7: Measuring Metrics
Lastly, we focus on numbers. Knowing our clients’ numbers is vital to understanding whether our coaching is benefiting them. We measure lead and lag metrics. But if you’re a personal trainer, you might measure weight loss, muscle gain, lost inches, BMI.
So that’s the seven-step coaching framework. Use it as inspiration to build out your coaching framework.
Step 4: How we keep our clients on track
Keeping your clients firmly on the path to success takes systems and a coaching board.
In an ideal world, I’d be handling all the coaching. It can be hard to let go of the reins, but there just aren’t enough hours in a day for me to deal with each and every client. And I suspect the same is true for you.
As a coach, you need to be on your game and be present. If you’re spending eight hours coaching people every day, you’ll quickly burn out. And no matter how hard you try, those three, four, and five o’clock clients won’t get the same level of attention or energy as your early morning clients.
So how do you get around this? Here’s what I do.
Get help. I’ve hired coaches with different strengths and skillsets to take some of my load. It’s allowed me to offer more to my coaching clients, and retention rates have improved.
Where I help with building overall strategy, Claire does wonders with building their team, and Anna is amazing with branding and messaging.
They’re also based in different locations, which has allowed me to take on coaching clients in different timezones. Before, I was limited to the US and Aus/NZ. I had to turn away many clients. Now I’m bringing on my UK/European clients, and you can too.
But this is where having a system becomes crucial.
I need to know:
- Who is handling what?
- What’s been said and agreed upon in a meeting?
- What are the barriers to success?
- Do I need to jump in and troubleshoot?
- Is the client happy?
And having the Asana board helps massively. At a glance, I can see exactly where the client is in the process. I know what’s coming, what we’re waiting on, and whether or not I’m a bottleneck or the client is.
This information is priceless. It’s helped me to transform my coaching program, and client retention has increased three-fold.
So if you’re aiming to make $50k in coaching revenue, you need to have an airtight system and a way to track progress. And you need to realize that it will take a team.
No, you don’t have to hire more coaches, but you do need to think about hiring a coaching assistant.
Do you need help building your coaching business? We’ve shared our top tips for starting and growing your coaching business in this how-to article. Just click the link.
Step 5: How we surprise and delight
I’m a firm believer in the power of a shock and awe package, particularly for high-value clients. I’m talking about customers willing to spend thousands of dollars each month.
Email can be a little impersonal and, well, meh. Whereas a physical gift—like a personalized shock and awe package—has what I like to call a WOW factor.
It’s unexpected. It’s something you know they’ll love, and chances are it’s going to further your relationship with that prospect.
I like to send a shock and awe package to every new coaching client. Mine includes:
- My metal business card
- Two copies of The 1-Page Marketing Plan (one copy is for the client and the other one is for them to give to a friend or team member. This works for two reasons. It makes your client look good, and it could lead to a new potential client.)
- A Successwise branded handwritten note
It doesn’t need to be expensive. Investing $20 or $30 is more than enough. It’s all about creating stand-out moments for your customers—letting them know that you appreciate their business and that you’re going to do a great job.
And it’s a tactic that other people use too.
Take America’s version of The Voice. If you’ve ever watched it, you’ll have seen their coaches often gift new team members with something unique. Kelly Clarkson does branded jackets. John Legend wrote a personalized song for his new singers. And Ariana Grande gave her team members a voice health pack.
It’s a small gift. But it kicks off the coaching relationship on a feel-good note. It reinforces that these singers made the right choice.
So think about what you could do to surprise and delight your customers. What are you willing to spend? What would they appreciate?
Scaling your coaching business doesn’t have to be hard. All you need is a system. A system for generating the right kind of coaching prospect and a template for converting those leads into coaching clients.
Once you have this in place, you need to focus on retaining them. Strong experiences are key. But that alone isn’t enough if you don’t get your clients results. So make sure you’re moving them along. Your job is to give them what they want, but also what they need.
And make your coaching life easier. Invest in project management software, especially if your coaching team is growing. You’re juggling many balls and it’s easy to drop a few.
My final tip, add a wow factor to doing business with you. People love getting an unexpected package in the mail. It creates a standout moment—a point of difference that keeps coaching clients coming back for more.
Are you ready to change your coaching business for the better? If you’re keen to learn the secret to our success, join our webinar now. I’ll take you through my tried and trusted coaching framework. It’s a game-changer so don’t miss out.