If there's one thing that makes some coaches (OK, a lotta coaches, especially new ones) feel kinda squeamish, icky, or dirty; it's marketing and sales. Makes you feel like you did when those snotty, dirty boys pulled your dress up on the playground. You're not that kinda girl!
Okay, I'm being a little silly here, but if that's how you feel, it can get in the way of your success, Big Time. Unless of course, someone else is signing your clients on for you! So let's see if you can shift your perspective, here.
Gosh, where to begin with this issue? Let's look at why coaches feel this way to begin with. So what are all the reasons you've ever felt funny about selling? Please reflect on that. Make a list. Here are some I've heard about:
- You were raised to be modest
- You don't want to look pushy
- You don't want to seem self-serving
- You don't want to have an agenda
- You don't want to be greedy
Hmm...notice the word all those phrases begin with?
Yeah, ouch! There you go, worrying about yourself instead of focusing on the client! Oddly enough, when you're busy worrying about your modesty, you're ego is getting in your way. (And don't bother re-writing your list of reasons. Regardless of how you worded them, I can virtually guarantee that your objections to selling are ego-based, unless you honestly believe coaching is sleazy, in which case, why are you coaching?)
Your ego doesn't belong in a coaching call.
You probably already knew that, but how do you get your focus off yourself, onto the client, and still make a sale? Well, it's easy, once you get it AND until you get it, it's impossible!
Let's look at why you became a coach, in the first place. You may want to make another list. Here are some possible reasons:
- You want to help people
- You have a gift in this area
- You've done a lot of work on yourself and you want to share it
- You want to change the world
Well, these are pretty noble reasons and you may have noticed that there's a lot of "You" in there, again. But, what if you took "You" out?
- Help people
- Share gifts
- Change the world
The noble stuff is still there and the phrases get more active. And your stuff is gone. If you're not in the picture, then your modesty, how you want to look and be, don't even matter anymore. The focus is off you and onto the action. Now you're ready to take action and make it all about the client.
I'm not just playing word games here; this is real.
If "you" didn't exist in a selling conversation, who would the conversation be about? The client, of course. Whose needs would matter? Whose finances, etc.? Does this person need a coach? Maybe. Do they want one for free? Probably not, because healthy, well-functioning people - the kind who make good clients - don't want handouts. They might even feel uncomfortable and say "No" if you insisted on coaching them for free. (The client, by the way, gets to show up to the session with all their ego stuff. It's you who needs to park it.)
Most clients will feel better about coaching with you if you let them pay you what coaching is worth to them. So that's the money thing.
And then there's the rejection thing. If you're worried about it, then it's your ego again. Strangely enough, clients worry about rejection, too. That's why making an invitation is so important. If you're doing a complimentary session with someone who sounds like your ideal client, park your fear of rejection and make an offer. Otherwise, you may be denying the other person a beautiful opportunity to grow and have a new life. Get yourself out of the way and find out if they're ready to take a chance. Often, all they need is an invitation from you.
Good coach marketing and selling is just clean above-board communication and relationship building.
Think about it. Part of being authentic is communicating honestly about who you are. That's integrity. If coaching is in integrity with your authentic self, then communicating about the gifts you have to offer the world as a coach, is part of your authenticity. If you're refusing to market and and unwilling to make a sale, a.k.a. communicate honestly and make invitations, then you're out of integrity. Your ego is in the way. Nobody is served.
So if you feel uncomfortable with marketing and sales, I have a tongue-in-cheek suggestion for you: Stop thinking dirty. Start taking actions that help more people experience the benefits of coaching. In other words, fill up your coaching practice!
Come on! You'll still respect yourself in the morning!
This is a theme we visit again and again in Coach 100, but especially in C100 classes #5 &6, "Successful Complimentary Sessions, Part I & II", and class #11, "I Hate to Market!"
Copyright, 2005, 2006, Julia Stewart
Photo by Skirt Girl Monica at Flickr Commons