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Struggling to Get the Clients You Want?

By Steve Mitten, CPCC, MCC

Here Are Some Troubleshooting Tips

Building a successful coaching practice takes time, consistent effort, passion, and some specialized knowledge. And the individual steps along the way might look quite different from one coach to another. However, if you are struggling to fill your practice and are not converting at least one client out of six prospects within five hours of active marketing, here are a few things to check:

  • Are you accurately qualifying prospects? Perhaps you should check your demographic assumptions. Are your clients the prime age for coaching (25 - 65)? Do they have a combined family income of at least $45K? Are your prospects open to the idea of coaching? If not, perhaps you want to refine your definition of a qualified prospect or investigate other niches.
  • Are you running out of prospects? Only 5% of the population would make a good coaching prospect. However this translates into at least 800 - 1,600 clients for each and every coach. If you are running out of prospects review your list of contacts to identify new people you can give a complimentary coaching session to. (Each person knows approximately 200 people on a first name basis.) Also, consider other contact strategies that raise your profile to multitudes of prospects. Conducting workshops? Networking? Article writing? Speaking?
  • Are you giving prospects a powerful sample session? At least one in three qualified prospects should be saying yes to your offer of coaching after a good sample session. If not, consider tweaking your sample session by doing some role-playing with your coach. Or you can take some more training or do a few supervisions with an experienced coach. (We are all blind to our greatest weaknesses and resistant to the changes we would most benefit from making. And your coach can help you find your blind spots.)
  • Are you delivering maximum value? Consider asking your clients and prospects for feedback. What did they benefit most from? What would they have liked to see more of?
  • Are you reasonably organized in your prospecting and contacting? In five hours of direct contact marketing you should be able to; identify six qualified prospects, contact them with an offer of a sample session, deliver those sample sessions to the approximately three out of six prospects who will accept your offer and ask for the business or a referral. If your productivity is lagging, perhaps you can discuss your system with your coach, or consider using some other client contact strategy.
  • Is your pricing on target for the particular group of prospects you are targeting? (Use the 20% rule. If more than 20% of your prospects object to your pricing, you are priced too high. If less than 20% complain you are priced too low.)
  • Are you putting in enough time? Most new coaches require between three and five hours of focused marketing to get one new client. This assumes the time is spent actively engaged in productive marketing activities, not just daydreaming or redesigning your business cards for the tenth time. (Many new coaches lament their lack of clients, only to admit they average less than 30 minutes of marketing a week.)
  • Are your doubts and fears clouding your marketing efforts? Are you telling yourself, "Marketing is too hard, I am not ready yet, there aren't enough prospects out there, I can't do this, this will never work or I am not good enough?" Whatever you are thinking will greatly influence your ability to sustain the kind of effort - and unattached, focused and positive approach - you will need to fill your practice. It is natural to have doubts, but as soon as you notice repetitive, unproductive, negative thoughts attend to them. Center yourself, reconnect to your vision and your passion for being a coach and go out there focused on genuinely adding value to people's lives. And always be on the lookout for how fear of success or doing something new will keep you distracted or showing up too small in your life.

The bottom line on troubleshooting your practice is, if what you are doing is not getting you the results you want, try something else. There are only so many minutes in a day, and if you are not filling your allotted workday with paying clients, it is costing you a fortune. (Let's say you're an average coach who charges $300 per client a month. If you would like a 25-client practice and are currently stuck at ten clients, you are missing out on $4,500 in extra revenue a month - an extra $54K a year.)

And if that isn't a big enough incentive to take your marketing seriously, think of all the people who are struggling, not living their dream or otherwise not benefiting from being coached - because they can't find you. Most coaches are called to this vocation because they like to make a difference. You can't do that if you're not coaching.

May you fully express your passion in your work.

Steve Mitten CPCC, MCC, is an award winning, internationally recognized Master Coach who runs a highly successful coaching practice working with leaders, entrepreneurs and independent professionals around the world. He is passionate about what accelerates the growth of human awareness, compassion and effectiveness, and helps his clients find their niche and thrive. Over the years Steve has also made a study of what really works in the building and marketing of a successful coaching practice.