How Do You Create A Coaching Package That Your Clients Want To Buy?
You’ve no doubt heard that if you charge by the hour for your coaching, it’s less attractive to your clients. What you need (the experts tell us) is to create a coaching package where you bundle together different aspects of coaching to present a unique solution for your clients.
And I know from experience, this depth of transformation is not only more sustainable, it really works for your clients.
But where do you start and what kind of coaching package will your people want to buy?
This is where things can get sticky, and you can find yourself getting stuck spinning your wheels in the creation process. It usually goes something like this…
- Come up with an idea for a coaching package…
- Create idea.
- Put idea on website…
- Wait for others to notice…
- … wait for sales…
- Double down and try to figure out your alignment to your market, in other words: Who wants to buy this? What value is this really creating for my ideal clients?
Over the years, I’ve watched many coaches get stuck in this process. If you make it to Step 6 and ask yourself those pertinent questions, you can consider yourself an outlier. Most coaches get stuck between Steps 1 and 3. That’s where your mind can go into overdrive as the worry and anxiety kick in and procrastination (a result of the doubts that inevitably surface) set in.
Some coaches I know have been re-running Steps 1 – 3 over and over for years. Don’t let this be you…
If you do make it to Step 6, though, you are forced to confront reality and the high probability of tripping over an invisible and often hidden Step 7: Give Up, where you struggle to find a great source of new clients… and find that you can’t. Or perhaps you can find a few, but it’s barely enough to keep you in business, never mind to thrive and really have the impact you dream of having.
I have noticed lots of strategies that have been touted to“fix” this process. These strategies fall into two camps:
- Get you past Step 3: Set a positive intention to attract your ideal clients and they will inevitably come ( also known as…The Secret”)
- Hopefully, make it past Step 6: Flail to actual sales, instead of the nearly inevitable Step 7: Give Up (“Burnout”)
And here’s the problem: These approaches are both flawed. They start off by accepting the validity of the original process and trying to modify it. The real trick is to bypass this process entirely because the original “process” is not valid. Not in the slightest. It has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. So, let’s not waste any more time there.
I work with my clients to find a better way. And today I’m going to teach it to you. I used to think of this as a process… but it’s nothing so linear or fancy. It’s really a set of short, relevant questions, and techniques and tools for answering them.
You need to answer just three simple questions, and these will form the backbone of your engagement strategies. Yes, really. You just need to know your answers to the following…
- Who am I serving?
- What do they need/want, and are ready to buy?
- How can I reach them and persuade them?
These are big questions, true. But they are simple and straightforward. And every time you answer one of them, your path will continue to become clearer. The secret sauce is that, if you work on them diligently, each answer leads to the next and you will find that your approach builds momentum in the right direction.
And you start these reflections before you ever even think of creating a coaching package. Here’s what you don’t do… you don’t ask, “Who would buy this idea?” you ask, “Who wants to buy something, and what is it?” You start with a client centric approach, with the client first.
1. Who are you serving?
You can’t ask “What do they want?” without having a “they” in mind. But, while there are all kinds of coaching chatter about “niche selection” and how critical it is, this step is not a big deal. You already know your strengths, right? You know where you have experience and credibility and the types of coaching clients you are likely to work best with. Start there.
Don’t get caught up in existential angst and refuse to make a decision. This isn’t a choice you have to live with forever; it’s just the first step. But you have to choose now and move forward now. And you can’t afford to pick far afield. You can’t afford to get creative.
When you start anything new in your coaching business, you have the maximum potential to start fighting your own sense of inertia, to overcome the apathy, get out of your own comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before. Habit, routine, fear, anxiety and doubt are all conspiring to end your new ambitions before you make a single dollar. You can’t afford to throw away even a small advantage that you may already have with a certain group of people, because that’s exactly what you do if you choose an audience you don’t belong to, with all the connections & rapport that means.
In other words: You’re being chased by a hungry bear. Drop your fancy camping gear, or the bear will eat you. (Yep, that particular metaphor comes courtesy of my scouting son Jakob).
2. What do they need/want, and are ready to buy?
And here is where the real value starts to happen. Let’s say you have a wealth of experience in corporate organizations and you have executive coach training, so you’re going to serve executives. Now you need to research them, to find out what executives need, want and are ready to buy.
Please don’t assume you already know – this is a dangerous mindset to have because it closes you off to other possibilities. Open our mind and do the research. No, you cannot rely on what your gut tells you because your gut has only been in the community, not studying the community.
You do research like this:
- Find out where Executives hang out online.
- Find out of there’s a particular niche of executives that you are more aligned with
- Lurk around with a purpose.
Write down pain points, beliefs, world-views, complaints, questions, struggles, products, desires. Get beneath the conversations and find out exactly what is going on. Do this a lot… 10, 20, 30 hours, before you set out to try to create your coaching package.
And once you’ve gathered a good foundational set of data, you:
- Organize it, distill it, label the patterns.
- Use these to brainstorm nearly infinite coaching packages/products/services.
And here’s the thing… I know data organizing doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but it is a grounded, aligned way to approach your coaching business. It stops you from making it up as you go along and these routine data points give you great insights into what your coaching clients really want from you.
As Edison once remarked, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I know, this approach has a distinct whiff of overalls about it. (Although, frankly, if you want to make more money from your coaching, you’ll find it enjoyable. I love it.)
What’s amazing about these particular overalls is this:
Take a look at the following issues. You’ve probably experienced them before. Most coaches will tell you, “Oh, that’s just what it’s like when you do something for the first time.” But, like the unconscious default process I talked about earlier, there’s nothing normal or natural about this:
Will anyone want your coaching packages?
Use this approach, and you can say: Yes! And feel secure in saying so, because you didn’t start with an idea, and then hoped people want it, (we both know hope marketing is never a good idea in business.) You started with what your potential clients want and then created it. No more “HOPE” marketing for you!
They need it, but do they want it?
Start with data, and you can know, by observing their buying behavior. Do they just say they want it and never buy? You can tell, by studying them.
I dunno… I’m afraid… While research can’t solve fear, you can learn to stop fear in its tracks by asking yourself, “Where’s the evidence?” And because you have based your decisions on real, live research, you can revisit your findings and prove to yourself that your decisions were sound, just like a warm cuddly blanket and a flashlight in the dark. This boosts your confidence because you now know, in a way you didn’t before.
Now you might be wondering – How can I sell it to people?
Do things the evidence-based way, and you’ll have the data you need to speak your client’s language, talk about their pains the way they do, and what they want to achieve, too.
How do I get all this in front of potential clients?
Again, do your research first, and you’ll be prepared. You’ll already know the places where your target audience hangs out. You can reach them there. And you know what they’re interested in, what they struggle with, and that gives you a springboard for packaging your coaching in a way that will attract them.
Which brings us to the next and final question…
How can I reach my potential clients and persuade them to buy?
Fact: If you can market effectively, you can make sales before you create your coaching package (pre-sales). But if you create your package and have no way to market it, you can’t make any sales at all. And that’s why, in this approach, you figure out your marketing before you ever set pen to paper, decide the elements or price your package. The opposite, in fact, of the way most coaches do it.
It’s not much extra work, either, because every step of the approach so far has been channelling you towards a successful marketing strategy:
- You’ll already know where to find your potential clients (because you’ve already been studying them for ages)
- You’ll already know what they want, need, read, and share (because you’ve already been studying them for ages)
Isn’t that amazing? The questions tie it all up with a shiny ribbon.
So, ask yourself the three questions…
Because if you can answer them, if you do the work to truly answer them from your clients perspective if you use the insights from the data, the answers will lead you to…
- Build a coaching package paying clients already want…
- Gather the ingredients needed to persuade them to buy, and…
- Learn how to get their attention on your marketing in the first place.
All you’ve got to do is tug on that ribbon, and it’ll unfold into a beautiful, profitable coaching package.
Skip any of the steps, fail to answer any of the questions, though, and what you’ll have is a tangled mess. A mess you can’t escape by simply “pivoting” as you go, you need to stay completely aligned with your clients. This is about them, not you as the coach.
Is it really that simple?
Yes, that really is the heart of it. That’s how I’ve created my coaching packages and what’s allowed me to charge premium prices as a coach.
But, like chess, the rules are simple… but it can take a lifetime to master the game. I should know, this is the approach I teach to my private clients and in “Create Your Ultimate Coaching Business” program, and I’m currently on the 4th or 5th iteration of how I teach it. I’ve gone from telling students to “Go out there and dialogue with your potential clients”, to giving step-by-step, systematic instructions on how to develop your client intelligence. I’ve taught them how to organize their findings, how to turn that into concepts for your coaching packages, position and priced for high value and how to turn all of that into an incredible VIP client experience, with rubrics and instructions.
Yep, it’s a challenge, but if you’re game, the rewards are not only more purpose driven they’re also highly profitable.