A common question that we hear from Teachable creators is how to get coaching clients. It’s a magical feeling when you get your first coaching client. A lot goes into securing those first few sales, but once you have them, it’s easier to grow from there.
We’ve helped many coaches launch and sell their services. To help you get coaching clients, we’ve compiled a list of advice from the Teachable community.
Table of contents
- Do client research
- Schedule discovery calls
- Send personalized follow-ups
- Test and hone your sales copy
- Offer a free coaching session
- Attend networking events
- Join Facebook groups and online communities
- Tap into social media
- Create SEO-optimized blog content
- Set up referrals
1. Do client research
To resonate with your audience, you need to learn more about them. Figure out what pain points your prospective clients have, and how your coaching services will help solve them. Pain points shape how you talk to your clients, whether it’s on your website, marketing, or sales calls.
Here are five questions you should think about when doing client research.
- What is your client’s goal(s)?
- Why haven’t they been able to meet their goals so far?
- What obstacles or roadblocks have they faced?
- How will your coaching help them overcome them?
- If they reach their goals, how will it improve their lives?
You may think you know how your customers would answer these questions, but it’s best not to assume. Instead, ask your target audience by conducting customer research.
You can add these questions to an Instagram poll or send them in a Typeform or Google Forms survey. If you have current clients or prospects, send an email and ask them for answers. If you don’t, you can post for free in relevant, online communities or Facebook groups or use a service like UserTesting.
Review each response you get, especially those from prospective clients. Then, use those findings to shape how you talk to your audience in your copy, marketing content, and discovery calls. By doing so, you’ll connect with them on a deeper level.
2. Schedule discovery calls
A discovery call helps you—and your prospective client—discover what you need to be successful and if you’re a good fit. You can easily schedule calls with potential clients by using Calendly. Connect it to your calendar, and send them a custom link that updates automatically with your availability and contact details.
The discovery call sets the tone for the rest of your relationship. During it, you want the customer to do most of the talking. You can ask the questions above and dive deeper into what that specific client is looking for in a coach. If they have a specific budget in mind, it can help you assess your rates and pricing.
After a discovery call, you or your prospect may come to the conclusion that it is not a good fit. You might be out of their price range or they may be looking for specialized services outside of what you do. However, if you have a meaningful discussion, they may recommend you to someone else in their network that they think could benefit from your coaching services.
3. Send personalized follow-ups
After any exchange with a prospective client—whether you chatted on a discovery call or they submitted a contact form on your site—send a follow-up.
Send an email that thanks them for their time and recaps what you discussed. You’ll also want to outline the next steps. You can outline pricing in the email or direct them to the sales page to enroll in a coaching package.
You can use this checklist when sending a follow-up email
- A brief summary of what you talked about
- Packages and pricing
- Coaching start date
- Enrollment period
- CTA – what are the next steps?
If they don’t respond to your first follow-up after one week, you can send them another email as a check-in. However, if you reach out after three times without a response, it will be considered pushy or spammy.
Some people might not connect with you or won’t find your prices within their budget, and that’s okay. Every interaction with a prospect may not lead to a sale. But, you’ll eventually find that the “no” stings a little less each time. You’ll also get a lot of practice communicating with prospects which will hone your sales skills.
4. Test and hone your sales copy
After all this research, it’s time to create a sales page for your coaching product. Your sales page will be the primary way that people learn about your services. In many cases, a prospect may only visit your website. They’ll use your coaching services landing page to determine whether or not to reach out or purchase your packages.
In other words, you’ll either win or lose clients based on how well you craft your landing page. To craft a winning landing page, you need strong sales copy.
First, take the data you’ve gathered and identify what matters most to your audience. Most importantly, highlight the value proposition. You can craft a value proposition by thinking through these questions:
- Why should a prospective client join your coaching program?
- What do you offer them that no one else provides?
- What outcomes can they expect or what have past clients achieved?
Your coaching sales page should also answer common questions like:
- How many sessions are included?
- How often and at what times can they communicate with you?
- What tools do they need if anything?
- What is the pricing and how do they sign up or learn more?
When you are creating sales copy for coaching services, you can start with one package or sales page first. Test out a few variations until you figure out what works best with your audience.
5. Offer a free coaching session
It may seem antithetical to offer something for free when you are trying to get your first paying coaching client. However, offering value without asking for something in return is one of the best ways to establish yourself as a thought leader, and eventually, land prospective clients.
It’s the same principle behind lead magnets and free trials. If you show potential clients what you can do, and how much value they get from a short coaching session, they are more likely to buy.
How to get coaching clients with little to no budget
If you are just starting out as a coach and trying to get clients, you probably don’t have a lot of money to spend on paid advertising. It might not make sense for you anyways. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get coaching clients. If you want to learn how to get coaching clients, test out some of these free to low-cost organic marketing tactics.
6. Attend networking events
For many businesses, the first customers come from within an entrepreneur’s inner circle.
Many entrepreneurs become successful because of the people that they know and how much those people vouch for them. For example, many people attend Ivy League schools, in part, because of the connections they’ll develop with alumni, faculty, and others. In other words, they know that their network influences their success. Of course, this is not the only influence, but a large network is a powerful tool for business owners.
Look for networking events that might be of interest to you and your target audience. For example, if someone coaches aspiring illustrators, they might attend Comicon. A relationship coach might speak at a speed dating event.
You may find your next client in an unexpected place. Perhaps, it will be at an event that has nothing to do with what you coach.
The idea is not to attend networking events with the sole purpose of selling to those in attendance. If you try that, it will feel transactional and disingenuous. People will tune you out. However, you should attend to learn from others and expand your network.
7. Join Facebook groups and online communities
In the same vein as networking events, online communities can help you build your network.
There are tons of industry and professional groups on Facebook, Slack, Reddit, and elsewhere. Some examples of groups include:
- Elpha – a professional networking group for women
- Indie Hackers – an online community for entrepreneurs and side hustlers
- Women in Product – a group for product professionals
- r/freelance – a Subreddit for all things freelance
- Stack Overflow – a question and answer site for developers
Research groups that are relevant to your industry and join. Instead of immediately posting in a group and asking people to buy your coaching service, which never works, provide value.
Many people go to online forums and professional communities to ask others a question that they haven’t found the answer to on Google.
If someone asks a question that you can answer with your unique expertise, then respond. Don’t try to sell them your services. Once you have engaged in a community for a few months and continuously provide value, then you can ask to post your coaching services. Other people in the group may remember your past posts and be more inclined to listen to what you have to offer.
Again, don’t join communities with the intention of self-promoting and selling. Most will ban you for doing just that. Do it to learn from others, expand your network, and share your expertise. In addition, remember the rule of thumb for cultivating any community: give as much as or more than you take.
8. Tap into social media
Social media can help you expand your reach at little to no cost. You can leverage different platforms to build your personal brand and connect with your target audience.
For example, for career coaches, LinkedIn is a must. As a career coach, your target audience is likely people who are thinking about or are currently transitioning to a new job or career path. LinkedIn is where they will be, so it’s where you need to be.
With social media, you need to make yourself discoverable. Post career advice, stories, and other content to increase your visibility on the platform. You can also refer back to the audience research you did for content ideas. What questions were commonly asked? What do they care about?
We recommend focusing on one social platform for at least a month before diversifying. Once the month ends, look at which posts had the most engagement and which didn’t. You can use those insights to plan content for the next month.
No matter which platform you use, include a call-to-action in your profile. For example, share your coaching services in your LinkedIn bio.
9. Create SEO-optimized blog content
When it comes to organic marketing, SEO is one of the most sustainable ways to grow. Unlike social media, you have slightly more control over the types of content you create and how people find you.
For example, SEO focuses on increasing your visibility in search engines, particularly Google.
Let’s say you’re a fitness coach, and you specialize in bodybuilding for women. You may want to appear in search results when your target audience looks up “bodybuilding for women” on Google. But, you also want to target other relevant queries. In this case, you might want to appear in searches for:
- how to train grip strength
- what is strength training
- how to wear a weightlifting belt
- women’s weightlifting shoes
- how much protein should a woman eat to gain muscle
Conduct keyword research to identify what words your target audience searches for, and which of those keywords you can possibly rank for in the first two pages of results.
Create blog posts for each keyword you identify and track your rankings. The idea is that as you appear in more top positions, you increase organic traffic to your site. Plus, if one person sees your site after multiple searches, they might remember your name when they are in the market for what you are selling. In this case, they may be more likely to seek out your coaching services for more in-depth and personalized bodybuilding advice.
10. Set up referrals
Getting that first coaching client is the hardest part, but once you have a few, you now have people who can vouch for you. Student referrals are one of the best ways to market a course, and the same goes for coaching.
If a client has a positive experience, make sure to follow up with them and ask if they would share a referral link with their community. You can set up a referral program easily with Teachable.
Figuring out how to get coaching clients won’t happen overnight, but these tips can help you get there faster. If you’re just starting out, it might feel like a lot of hard work to get your first coaching clients. However, it will pay off in the end, and eventually, get easier.
You learn a lot from your early coaching clients from how to set pricing to what activities to include in your sessions. If you take those learnings and apply them to improving your coaching experience, you’ll see improvements throughout your business. If you haven’t created a coaching program yet, it’s easy to get started with Teachable. You can test it out with a free plan or chat with a Teachable expert.