Lots of folks are coaches these days, have you noticed? While it may be easy to become a coach, getting your calendar filled with coaching clients is a skillset often overlooked by most of the coach training programs out there. Of course, you can always use the book Seal the Deal as your business development training, but the following 8 keys to success will be crucial as you expand your book of business.
- Give up your “Coaching Practice”. You’re in a business, not a practice. Medical, dental, sports/yoga, instruments = practice. A business has a business development strategy, sometimes called a sales strategy or a strategic marketing plan. For some of us, that plan is hinged on magic. In other words, it’s a mystery how new business happens. I’ve heard coaches say things like, “I just go to lunch with people and sometimes get clients that way” or “It’s all been from the seat of my pants, I’ve never had a business plan”. These are not sales strategies. Sales and business development can be systematic. Once you know the process it becomes predictable, repeatable, sustainable and you can dial it up or down as your life choices require.
- It’s all about your mindsets. Example: Marketing is not Rainmaking. There’s an over-arching concept called Business Development (or Rainmaking), which is comprised of three domains: Networking, Marketing, and Sales. Each of these are distinct areas that we often collapse and co-mingle. They need to be separated, understood, and applied in strategic concert to get results.
- Networking is not something you do outside of your work, or as an extra distasteful task, like taking out the trash or paying taxes…it is ongoing activity. Connect with people, meet people, talk to people, get to know what matters to people, be more interested than interesting.
- Marketing activities involve you crafting your message and materials and can be used as a crutch to keep you hidden from your prospective clients…Fear…you only get more prepared by being more prepared.
- Never give it away for free…it is hard for someone to start paying for something they got for free, so offer special reduced introductory rate or trial offer instead. If you’re giving it away free, you’re only attracting those who want something for nothing.
- Link your attitudes and beliefs about sales to your greatest passion, value, commitment or strength –what’s meaningful to you?
- Give up attachment to specific outcomes. It’s all a numbers game. Rejection, even from the top, may not be final. You can plan your response to rejection, prepare for it to take the emotional charge out of it.
- Take risks and confidently ask for specifically what you want. Lead from your commitment to service, not to dollars. Ask for their business, ask for referrals, ask for another meeting, ask for information, etc. Referrals are secret, all-access pass to expanding business with existing clients. Be “YES” and figure out how you’ll do it all later. We often limit ourselves with our own overwhelm.