Ever since the start of your coaching business, you have been eagerly waiting for that first coaching client. The waiting game is not as much fun, but it’s still necessary to get started. The coaching process can also be used as a great way to validate your future online courses ideas. Many of us (including myself) had to learn how to work with clients on the job, navigating mistakes, aha moments, and “I wish I knew” reflections after long weeks of trial and error. I have been consulting for eight years now and have also helped hundreds of experts and creatives doing the same. We are all different in our approach, but there are common practices you need to know about before you take on your first coaching client. In this piece, you’ll find some valuable examples to help you score your first paid client.

Research your audience’s pain points

Your audience’s pain points are what will shape and guide your overall marketing strategy and messaging. A few helpful questions to consider when you are at the beginning process of thinking about how get your first coaching client are:

  • What goals is your ideal client trying to reach?
  • Which obstacles are they looking to overcome?
  • Which values do they stand by?
  • What do they need to do to live the life they deserve?
  • Why have they not been able to reach those goals by themselves?

There are a variety of ways to get answers to those questions. You can achieve this via a survey, a series of questions via polls on Instagram, or by directly DMing or emailing your current ideal clients from your database or engaged audience. 

The answers to those questions will shape your copy, your marketing content, and the way you are going to lead potential clients through a discovery call. You want to show them how you can help clients set appropriate, achievable goals with your guidance. By identifying the obstacles that keep them from reaching their goals, you can relate to them and present ways to overcome them together through your coaching. 

By introducing them to the life they deserve, you help them visualize today how they can reach satisfaction and happiness in the way they live their everyday lives. You can accomplish this in your social media posts, your website copy, and even how you structure the results people will achieve through your work with them. Using the words that come from your potential customers will allow you to connect with them on a deeper level.

Create a simple one-on-one package

After all of this research, it’s time to create one simple one-on-one package that can cater to your audience’s needs. Use the data you have gathered to add their hopes, dreams, and struggles into your sales copy. Make sure you outline the transformation they will be going through during this process, too. I always recommend working with as many people as possible for the first year of coaching to understand better who you are looking to help. 

Single coaching sessions can be easier to sell, yet they will put a lot of strain on you in the long run. Encourage a three or six-month package to build a strong relationship with your clients and not worry about cash flow and new acquisition. This will be especially important when you’re first exploring how to get your first coaching client.

This package will be your signature offer for the first six months of your journey, so you want it to serve your clients best and provide you with a sustainable source of incomeOutline how many sessions are included, what your clients can expect and how they can communicate with you in between sessions to set boundaries. If you are still finding the perfect pricing, offer a “range” you can work around to better tailor your price to individual clients. You can also look at your current costs and how much you value your time per hour. A lot of new coaches may offer introductory prices as well. 

Choose one platform and start actively showing up

You did your market research; you crafted an irresistible package for your first clients. Now it’s time to get the word out there and encourage potential clients to book discovery calls. Make sure you have a simple booking system such as Calendly to keep track of potential client calls before getting started. My best advice would be to choose one platform to focus and focus on for a whole month before diversifying. 

We vastly underestimate the amount of time it takes us to complete any given task—it’s a process known as time-dysmorphia. I always advise coaches to start small and build consistency on their stronger platform to manage their time better.

If you are still unsure of what to post, head back to what you know about your audience. What are their problems? What does their ideal life look like? How can you create content that connects with them and gives them first access to who you are? Now is the perfect time to share your journey to show them how you have overcome difficulties. I would recommend focusing on one social platform first before focusing on a blog, podcast or YouTube channel. 

Platforms such as Instagram allow you to create a simple call such as “book a discovery call” right in your bio. No need to be cryptic. Encourage people to reach out, as well as DMing you with any questions.

The main thing to remember when it comes to how to get your first coaching client: Start those conversations and know that the more people you talk to, the more experience you’ll build when it comes to selling yourself. 

How to run your discovery calls 

The discovery with your potential client is the first impression they will have of your business. Taking the time to set this call up so that the client will feel comfortable will help set the tone for the rest of your relationship. This call allows you to assess what your client is looking for and how that aligns with your packages. 

Stay present and focused on this client during the call. Listen to what they have to say and use this to adapt your package offer to their needs.

If possible, offer two options at two different price points (either based on duration or type of support). Encourage your potential client to share their thoughts, feelings, and needs. I recommend taking heaps of notes to tailor your follow up email to them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify any unclear points. 

If you’re still navigating your rates, be open to asking questions such as: what is your current budget? It can also help you understand the market best and choose whether this type of client aligns with your worth.

Create your proposal

Next, work on a solid follow-up. It will include a revised package that is best suited to your client. You may add other information, such as: 

  • a breakdown of what’s on offer
  • the systems you use to communicate 
  • your next available date to start
  • your current rates
  • next steps to get started

Don’t be afraid to follow up with potential clients twice or even three times. Remember: People are busy, and they may lose track of communication. 

When booking multiple calls, some won’t connect with your or still find your prices unsuitable for their current budgets. By going through this experience, you’ll get used to hearing people saying ‘no’ and you’ll master the art of resilience. This persistence is critical.

This process will also help you handle rejection a lot better and build confidence in your sales skills. Remember: You’re not selling. You are sharing with people who need your help how you can change their lives.

Ultimately, building a new client relationship is challenging yet so rewarding. The first coaching client can teach you how to run systems, set boundaries, clarify expectations, set ground rules, and build safety. Remember that the hard work now will pay off in the long run. Take the time to map the next action step for each of these areas to create a strong audience to lead your audience into action.