This is one of the secrets to a highly successful coaching business.
If you’ve been around RCI for awhile, you’ve likely heard this from us before. We highly recommend that you don’t try to sell your services by the session. If you do, your client will assume they are paying for your time instead of focusing on the benefits and results you provide. They are much more willing to pay out of pocket for tangible results than talking with you by the hour.
People don’t want to buy coaching sessions, they want to achieve an important goal. Don’t try to explain coaching or convince anyone to want coaching, instead, focus on their goals and the results that you will help them achieve.
Why is this important? Because people don’t want to buy hours to talk to you; they want solutions. Clients don’t want your advice; they want results. Members of your niche are not interested in how well-intentioned or passionate you are, they want assurance that you can really help them. People need confidence that you will successfully help them achieve their biggest, most important goals. And the assistance they are looking for is best delivered in the form of services, products, and programs—tailored just for them.
Which option is more compelling to you?
Option A: Single and seeking your soul mate? Hire me as your relationship coach, by the hour, and we’ll meet weekly and I’ll help you find the love of your life.
Option B: Single and seeking your soul mate? My proven Conscious Dating Program will help you find the love of your life and the life that you love.
Neither is compelling marketing copy but in these examples you can easily see the difference between focusing on sessions vs. programs. If you’re interested, here’s an example of marketing copy we use for our Conscious Dating program.
Do You WANT to Sell Sessions?
Most coaches care deeply about helping their clients get the results they want and are fully aware that it takes time to achieve those results, so they want their clients to commit to the long haul and do NOT want to be hired by the hour or session.
Most prospective clients don’t really understand coaching and many believe that they just need the right advice to unlock the secrets of success and don’t want to commit to months of sessions “talking” about things, they want results! More about that here.
So both coach and client care about results, but usually differ in their perception and expectations of coaching. Both coach and client don’t want to just meet and “talk” session by session, they want action and results.
Packages Are NOT Programs!
It is common for coaches to provide coaching packages, such as 12 sessions or 3 months of weekly coaching, providing a discount for full payment in advance. Some provide choices such as 2 sessions per month vs. 4 sessions per month, hourly sessions vs. half hour sessions, and setting their fees accordingly.
I have two serious problems with this approach:
- It focuses the prospective client on paying for coaching sessions, which, as mentioned above, they don’t really want to do. They want results, not “coaching.”
- It has no relationship to what would be effective for the client. While 2 sessions a month might be more affordable than 4, if it’s less effective, is it a good idea to provide that choice?
A good coaching program is designed to deliver results, is priced accordingly, and provides everything the coach knows is needed to deliver those results. Buying coaching in packages has no direct relationship to getting effective results.
Four Basic Steps for Creating a Coaching Program
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that creating and marketing a coaching program is much better for you and your clients than simply selling coaching sessions. Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Determine the biggest goal of your target audience that you want to help them achieve. This is the big result of your program.
Step 2: Brand your program to be compelling to your target audience, preferably incorporating the big goal or result that the program will help them achieve, such as “Radical Dating®: From Single to Soul Mates in One Year or Less.”
Step 3: Determine the price point for your program. Is it a low-cost product meant to get them in the door, a mid-range “next step”, or a high value, high touch program intended for your best prospects? In designing your Service Delivery System you’ll likely want a program at each level or your program will have a series of steps or modules.
Step 4: Use your experience with your clients to create the structured steps necessary for their success. Here at RCI we provide “done for you” coaching programs, but you can use your experience and expertise to create your own.
Remember to create your programs with your CLIENT in mind. Don’t create a program you think they NEED. Instead, create a program they WANT.
Two Simple Questions for Organic Program and Product Development
Step 4 above is to “use your experience with your clients to create the structured steps necessary for their success.” Here’s how I’ve done so and you can too, which involves two simple questions:
Simple Question #1: What Works?
As practitioners working with different clients over time in similar situations, we develop the ability to uncover patterns and we end up developing an approach to helping them by doing and saying the same things over and over. It comes from our experience and expertise. So any time I set out to address a need, I ask myself, In this particular situation, because of who I am and how I help my clients, what have I done that has produced the best results? In trying to help members of my niche accomplish their goals, what works? What works that have I ended up doing and saying over and over, again and again with my clients? This is the raw material for your coaching program.
Designing programs for your niche is not about what is attractive. It’s not about what feels good or what makes the most sense to you. It’s not about hope and it’s also not scientific. And you know what? It doesn’t have to be. It just has to work. Your ability to effectively serve your clients, and by extension your own success as a private practice professional, is determined not by what you believe should get results, but what really does get results. Solutions don’t have to be grandiose or all-encompassing, they just have to serve your niche.
What works to get the attention of prospects in your niche?
What works to entice visitors to your Web site to opt in?
What works to compel prospects to sign up for your program?
What works to stimulate referrals?
What service delivery system works best for your niche?
What interventions work best for specific situations in your specialty?
What works for other professionals that you can adapt to your niche?
You get the idea. Capturing and leveraging this knowledge will not only help you design your services, products, and programs, it will help you easily make all decisions related to helping your clients.
And Yes, I know this is for experienced coaches. If you’re new to coaching, just join RCI and get started by using our “done for you” coaching programs until you’re able to or want to develop your own program.
Simple Question #2: What’s Next?
Whenever I’m faced with a challenge or have just done or created something, I continue to look ahead. I have learned the value of following the “what works” question with one that goes hand in hand to best meet the needs of my clients: “What’s next?”
The “what’s next” question has helped me develop services, products, and programs to help close the loop in serving my clients’ needs. Here’s an example:
In tough economic times, RCI members often come to me concerned that they’ll be prevented from getting new clients. They say, “People won’t be able to afford my services.” This is an understandable fear, but a myth. A tough economy is when your target audience needs you the most. So what to do about this?
Here’s a real world example of what I did in response to the huge economic recession of 2008 in the U.S.:
Goal: Create and market a coaching program for coaches struggling to get clients in an economic downturn.
Here’s how I used the “what’s next?” question to do so:
- Okay, I’ll put together a seminar for them and call it How to Get Clients in Challenging Times. But what’s next?
- I will record the seminar and offer the recording as an opt-in lead generator on my website.
- Great, so it’s on my website as an opt-in offer. What’s next?
- How about when people download the recording, I will have auto-responder messages inviting them to join my practice-building program?
- Now that the auto-responders are programmed, what’s next?
- Well, practitioners feeling challenged by the economy might also need help learning effective strategies for getting potential clients to say “Yes” to hiring them. So I will take the data from my intense study on the subject over the past 10 years, distill that information into a five-step enrollment strategies and tactics system and put that into a special report.
- All right, now I’ve written the special report. Now what am I going to do with it? What’s next?
- It’s much too valuable to give away, should I sell it on my Web site? No, as a product, it would detract from motivating people to sign up for my programs. I know: I’ll use it to actually motivate people to join my program. First, I’ll make it available to my RCI members. Then, I’ll make it available in my preview calls as an enticement for people who are interested in joining RCI. Excellent, now I have that in place. What’s next?
- Well, the content is great and could be expanded into a separate product for getting paying clients, such as this and I’ll add it to my products here
Get the idea? This is exactly how I’ve developed all my intellectual property such as RCI’s relationship coach training program, the Communication Map, numerous coaching tools, products, programs and paradigms, and it’s how I’ve written all my books.
Most successful businesses have systems for everything and in my experience the “What’s next?” question is the easiest and most effective way to design any system as well as a coaching program. Just ask yourself “What would be Step 1?” and then “What would be the best Step 2?” and so on. Be sure to refine and test, refine and test, until your system and coaching program is proven effective for your desired result.
And remember, Sell Programs, Not Sessions!