I remember the day I landed my first coaching client. Where I was, what I was wearing, and best of all, the crazy rush I felt when she hired me on the spot. It was my third coaching discovery call and I couldn’t believe my prospect had said “YES!”
That was the start of my dream coaching career — no boss, no commute, no alarm clocks and the satisfaction of fulfilling my potential.
But many coaches struggle to find that first, or next, client. For one simple reason.
Why Many Life Coaches Struggle To Attract Clients
It’s because they don’t know how — or are afraid — to speak with potential clients. And when they do, they spend too much time selling.
Writing blog posts, hanging out on forums, posting on social media – these things don’t get you clients. Why not? Well, there’s two reasons.
First, that’s what everybody else is doing, making you near invisible.
Second, in the coaching business, people want to deal with people — not faceless content. They want to know they can trust you with their money, and their personal struggles.
There’s a place for blogging and social media. These activities help build trust and attract new prospects. But, on their own, they won’t win you clients.
If you want more clients, you need to spend more time talking one-on-one with prospects. And you need to stop selling and start helping people.
In a moment, I’ll explain exactly how to convert prospects into clients. But first, let’s talk about fear.
How To Eliminate Fear And Naturally Attract Clients
I was terrified when I first called a prospect. But I found a way to eliminate this fear and win more clients. Here’s how.
When most people call a potential client, they see it as an opportunity to sell. This creates pressure. And pressure creates fear of failure.
In addition, many of us are uncomfortable with the idea of selling. Somehow it feels “icky” to us.
The solution is to change the way you approach your calls. Consider this…
… your prospect needs your help.
You can help them solve a burning problem — whether it’s an issue with their health, business, finances, or relationships. And when you do this, your prospect is not only open to your call, they’re grateful for it.
So how do you shift from selling, to being a trusted adviser that people love to hear from?
You focus on helping people and really understanding what’s going on in their world.
When you do this, you’re far more likely to find solutions and build trust.
The Right Way To Conduct A Coaching Discovery Call
Your prospects need to get to know you before deciding whether to work with you. The fastest way to build up trust is by offering complimentary calls.
There are several ways to conduct a coaching discovery call. Some coaches see them as short sales calls and leverage accepted sales strategies to encourage prospects to invest.
My approach is different. I first came across this style of selling, when I read Rich Litvin’s book The Prosperous Coach. It immediately clicked with me and has been how I’ve converted almost half of my discovery calls into paying clients.
Instead of selling, you deliver prospects a deeply transformative experience. In other words, you demonstrate your coaching and not your sales technique.
If the right prospect experiences what working with you means, they will be more than willing to invest in paid coaching.
This approach also feels less “sales-y”. You needn’t rely on negative persuasion techniques, such as highlighting your clients’ fears or emphasizing scarcity.
Plan Your Coaching Discovery Calls
So, how exactly do you conduct a transformative discovery call?
Start by writing out a framework for your calls. This gives you a “cheat sheet” you can refer to when meeting with people. As your confidence grows, you can set your cheat sheet aside. Over time, the flow of a call will come naturally to you.
Your framework should include the following elements:
- Opening: Set the tone by creating a joint purpose and positioning yourself as the expert. EXAMPLE: “Hi! I’m excited about our conversation today. I understand you’re interested in potentially working with me in one of my private coaching programs. Is that true?”
- Identify the “gap”: Next, ask questions to identify the gap between where your prospect is now and where they want to be … and why. Include questions that are authentic to your voice, your message, and your business. EXAMPLE: “What is it that made you invest the time on the phone today to fix _______?”
- Coach prospect through one challenge: Now, identify one challenge to address on the call. Ask your prospect what’s not working in their lives then ask questions to prompt them to brainstorm solutions. EXAMPLE: “What is the biggest obstacle for you to get to ___________?” “What have you done to solve this challenge?” “What else could you try?”
- Summarize takeaway(s): Towards the end of your call, ask your prospect what they key takeaway(s) are. This solidifies the usefulness of the call in their mind. EXAMPLE: “What are your next steps to overcome ______________?”
- Make your coaching offer: Finally, if the prospect is a good fit for you, make an offer. Always ask permission to describe your offer. EXAMPLE: “Would you like to hear how we can continue working together?” If the answer is yes, then say “Here’s how it will work. I’ll help you ___________. We will meet __________ and your investment will be _____________”.
Review And Practice
Congratulations, you now know how to conduct a coaching discovery call. You’re ready to get your first potential clients on the phone!
But before you do that, I want you to practice at home. You can practice in front of the mirror or find a willing family or friend to listen.
Get comfortable conducting discovery calls and especially with saying your offer out loud. This will help you overcome any fears and ensure that you don’t “freeze” when you come to the end of your discovery call.
You have what it takes to be a successful life coach. There are thousands of people out there who need your help. Approach them with confidence and compassion, you’ll soon have a thriving coaching business.
For more help growing your coaching business, check out my book Make Money As A Life Coach. It provides a step-by-step proven plan to start your coaching business and quickly get your first paying clients.