Is there someone in your network that always seems to magically get clients. Every time you speak with them they have a story about how they just showed up at a networking event, or maybe they were standing in line at the grocery store, and they wound up getting a new client. You smile excitedly with them, congratulating them on their good fortune. But in the back of your mind you are wondering, “How in the heck do they keep getting clients, when you’re having a hard time getting your first coaching client?”
There are two possibilities for how they got those clients:
- They are lying.
- They are actively doing the things that will bring clients into their business.
Let’s look at the first possibility: People lie about their success all the time. Whether it’s the clients they have, the amount of money they make, or the referrals they get. Or they use words to create a perception of success that isn’t 100% true. I know this because when I am in accountability mode, I have learned to ask better questions so I get the whole picture and the full truth.
A few years ago, I had a client excitedly tell me that she had gotten a lot of traffic to her site. When I asked her about the action items from our last call none of them were done. I guess she thought telling me about the traffic she generated would cancel out the lack of work she had done on her marketing plan. But I wasn’t buying it, so I asked, “What’s a lot of traffic?” After fumbling around for a few minutes, she said “8 people.” I knew it, she knew it, and you know it – 8 people is not “a lot of traffic.”
Here are a few other examples I’ve encountered of people using a smoke and mirrors approach in talking about their coaching clients:
- The life coach who is excited about the five new clients she picked up last week. She forgot to mention that none of them were actually paying clients.
- The speaker who brags about the 3 speaking engagements they have lined up. None of the engagements are with their target audience, and none of them are paid engagements.
- The marketing coach that shares about the new client she just signed on for 9 months. What you don’t know is that she was only able to sign that new client because she cut her rate by 50%.
Integrity vs Ego Trip
As hard as it is feels to be truthful about the real number of clients and conversions you are getting, it’s harder to step out of your integrity in an attempt to create a perception. The biggest drawback to creating an appearance that you have it all together is that it prevents you from asking for the help you really need. After you’ve told everybody about the five new clients you picked up, how can you show up at a workshop on how to get more clients or attend a live workshop on how to improve your marketing. Talk about an ego trip that’s hard to get back up from.
I remember once doing a webinar and having just one person show up for the live event. I was embarrassed and frustrated until I listened to a audio recording of one of the top sales coaches online right now. It must have been one of her older programs, where she was running a live Q&A for the people in her paid program. Guess how many people were on the call? TWO. Now the the fact that there were just two people on the call in no way devalued the content she was offering, it was good stuff. My take away from that was that we all start somewhere. If she had quit teaching because she was disheartened by that audience of two, she would not be a 7-figure coach today, with the huge following she has. I guarantee you she focused on the second option: she actively worked to get the clients for her practice.
How to find coaching clients
Believe it or not, there is no Client Fairy. And there is no Client Stork delivering clients to your doorstep.
People that have a study stream of paying clients and are profitable in what they do, all have a few things in place:
- They believe in the work they have been called to do.
- The are clear about who they serve and what they offer.
- They’ve invested in creating systems, programs and products that allow them to focus on their ideal paying clients.
- They set their pricing based on the value they deliver and the results they help their clients get.
- They have structure that allows them to deliver value and get results over and over again for their clients.
- They prioritize marketing and sales (and if they don’t know how to do it they hire someone to help them.)
- They take consistent action to fill their pipeline with qualified VIPs (very interested prospects).
That’s what it takes to build a profitable coaching practice.
Skipping Steps Won’t Get You Clients Faster
When you have the right things in place, the mindsets, systems, tools, and people – it is easy to create a flow of clients that are hungry to work with you. But just because it is easy, doesn’t meant you don’t have to work at it. Especially in the beginning when you are just creating the framework for your business.
Think of it like building a house. How safe would your house be if the construction crew decided that you really didn’t need support beams? Or you really didn’t need to get rid of all those termites before building? Or what if they said, we’ll put all the wiring in after we get the roof on? This is what I see so many brilliant women doing when it comes to the building a solid client base. Skipping the foundational elements won’t get you clients faster – at least not real paying clients who understand the value of the work that you do with and for them.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a crystal clear answer when someone asks you, “Where do your clients come from?”
Today, I invite you to let go of the wishful thinking and stop waiting for the stork to deliver your clients. Instead, pick up the phone, find a networking event, follow-up with potential referral partners, check in to those LinkedIn groups – do what it takes to get yourself in front of your VIPs. Not only do your potential coaching clients need you, they are waiting for you and only you to show up.