One of the most common questions new coaches have is where to find clients. No well-designed website or comprehensive ebook is helpful unless you have somebody to sell your services to. Once you know who your target clients are, what problems they seek to solve, and how you can help them solve those problems, you want to know where to find your clients.
We’ve prepared a list of the 14 most effective ways to find new clients, expanding your coaching base and increasing your income.
First of all, we should mention that there are no secret places where all the great clients are hiding. Your choice of where to find new clients depends greatly on your niche, your target audience’s specific needs, the communication channels they prefer, and your budget.
Now that nearly every business has gone online, digital channels are becoming more and more popular. However, we strongly recommend a strategy involving both online and offline marketing for new coaches who need to attract paying clients quickly. So let’s delve into each marketing strategy step by step.
#1. Holding workshops
To encourage people to buy your services, organize a workshop, either offline or online. Workshops enable you to demonstrate all the advantages of your services, manifest your expertise, and show you’re the right coach to work with. Be ready to run your workshop for free to build trust with your prospects and get people in the door.
An online workshop allows you to educate and inspire people and lets them form an opinion of why you are or aren’t the right coach for them. If you’re not sure what to talk about, think about the questions you’re asked most frequently or the most common costly mistakes your target clients make. Invite workshop attendees to continue working with you in your coaching program after the workshop.
Planning a workshop is a lot of work. Here is a list of things you should consider weeks or even months in advance:
- Whether to hold your workshop online or offline
- The subject of your workshop
- The number of attendees you want to invite
- The location
- The accessibility of the chosen location
- How long the workshop will last
- Equipment needed (laptop, projector, etc.)
- Software for online workshops (a video conferencing solution)
- Promotional handouts
- Communication channels to let people know about your workshop
- The price of the workshop (free or paid)
- Follow-up actions to stay in touch with attendees
Networking is the art of building and maintaining connections for shared positive outcomes.
Networking is another effective way to get coaching clients, as it helps you improve your visibility as an expert. By participating in networking events relevant to your target audience, you’ll be able to not only attract new coaching clients but generate more referrals.
A crucial aspect to remember is that networking is about building relationships; it’s not about selling. One of the top mistakes people make at networking events is attending them to promote their services first and foremost. What you should do is tell people who you are and what you do and deliver value. You’re there to gather information, meet people, make useful connections, and become visible to your prospects, not to sell directly.
As Dale Carnegie wrote in his famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People, “the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”
You can network both online and offline. In fact, you can network anywhere your potential clients hang out — at church or your sports club, in line at the supermarket, or around your neighborhood. There are also professional networking groups you can join to reach new coaching clients, including your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Networking International (BNI), Lions Clubs, Rotary Club. You can expand your network by attending seminars, signing up as a volunteer, becoming part of a meetup group, attending a trade show, etc.
You can network online in LinkedIn and Facebook groups and communities and by joining online coaching organizations.
To make the most of networking for your coaching business, follow these useful tips:
- Choose networking opportunities that put you face to face with people who are likely to need what you offer or who can help you meet people interested in your services.
- Carefully choose events to attend so you don’t waste your time, and balance networking with other lead generating efforts.
- Show interest in the people you meet: ask about their businesses to build rapport, pre-qualify them, and understand whether your relationships can be mutually beneficial.
- Don’t network for the sake of networking; define your goal and purpose.
- Follow up with people you’re interested in. Send an email, make a call, write a note, etc. If you don’t, there’s no point in networking.
- Present yourself as an expert, but be friendly and welcoming. The right posture and the right attitude with a warm smile will make a good impression and attract people.
- Offer to assist people. You’ll be greatly appreciated for doing so and will get a chance to be recommended as an expert to people who are in need of your services.
#3. Attending trade shows
Your potential clients are inundated with marketing messages on various channels. They see dozens of advertisements, get lots of emails, and screen phone calls to avoid unsolicited offers from service providers. With that in mind, it’s getting harder and harder to cut through the noise and reach your target prospects. The most effective way to win their attention is to get them to experience your coaching. And trade shows are the right place for this.
Here’s a guide to connecting with your coaching prospects at trade shows.
Before the trade show
- Find a trade show your potential clients attend.
- Review a list of presenters to define 10 to 25 individuals or companies you’d like to work with.
- Ask the trade show coordinators for contact information so you can reach these potential clients and schedule appointments.
- Prepare for each conversation to make the right impression and make the most of your communication.
At the trade show
- Plan your day to meet the people you want to meet most. Know who is presenting, when they’re presenting, and where their booths are.
- Introduce yourself briefly during conversations with your prospects, emphasize the outcomes and benefits they can get from your collaboration, try to speak their language, and talk about what’s relevant to them to stimulate a meaningful dialogue.
After the trade show
- Follow up. You’re no longer a stranger with an unwanted pitch. You’re recognized, and thus you’re more likely to get a response from your prospects.
#4. Public speaking
Public speaking is an effective strategy to ramp up your profile as a coach for a number of reasons. Public speaking helps you to:
- Build your business brand. The more often your business name is exposed to an audience at speaking events, the more recognized it becomes and the more awareness it generates.
- Establish a reputation for your expertise. Speaking on topics related to your coaching niche enables you to get a reputation as an expert, making your services more desirable to prospects.
- Enhance your confidence. Public speaking may be a bit uncomfortable when you start. But your confidence level will grow over time, allowing you to feel confident no matter who you’re speaking to — a small group or a large audience.
How to get clients through public speaking
To make this strategy work and bring you paying coaching clients, follow these steps:
1. Define your audience. There are always companies looking for speakers to present on a topic. This is a great opportunity for finding clients, so it’s alright to do it for free at the beginning. However, you should seek out groups that closely match your desired target market.
2. Choose where to speak. There are several ways to find public speaking opportunities:
- Think locally first. Make a list of local events you would like to speak at. These should be events that bring together your most relevant audience. Some examples are events at local colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, and business networking groups.
- Use Google. Field-specific conferences are a great speaking opportunity for coaches. If you’re a wellness coach, for example, you could search “wellness conference 2021” to find offline and online conferences to speak at.
For related searches, scroll down to the bottom of the Google search results page.
- Use social media. Social media is another effective place to find speaking opportunities. Follow industry influencers and join groups and communities to have your news feed flooded with events you can speak at. Another way to find public speaking events is using hashtags. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn use hashtags. Here are some examples of hashtags you can use to find a slew of events: #conferences, #events, #corporateevents, #meetings, #eventprofs, #meetingprofs. You can also add a location to your hashtag for more accurate search results, e.g. #TennesseeConference.
Once you’re ready with your event list with dates, links, and contact information, you can start reaching out and gauging interest from event coordinators.
3. Choose the right topic. You can have dozens of coaching topics to speak on, but not all of them will be equally attractive to your audience. To choose the most attractive topic for public speaking, picture your ideal client and their top-of-mind problem that typically brings them to you.
4. Create an offer. Public speaking is your opportunity to attract potential coaching clients, so create a unique offer that relates to the topic you’re going to speak about. Remember that your offer should be:
- Specific to reflect what it involves
- Relevant to the talk you’re giving (If you’re talking about cutting sugar, for example, you can offer a 30-day sugar detox program.)
5. Follow up with event attendees. Remember that your talk should bring you potential clients, not only applause. So a crucial step is to get event attendees’ contact information. If the coordinators can’t share their guest list with you, you can offer valuable materials (CDs, ebooks, checklists, guides, brochures, discount coupons, etc.) in exchange for contact information (phone number, email). After the event, contact participants to thank them for attending, share helpful materials, ask if you can stay in touch, and offer to answer their questions.
#5. Cold calling
Cold calling is one of the oldest sales techniques, but it may seem to be losing its popularity due to newer less intrusive methods of getting new clients. However, cold calling is not dead and remains an effective lead generating technique.
What’s crucial to remember is that cold calling should be done right so as not to provoke negative emotions and to stimulate prospects to connect with you. Coaches must view the technique as part of a holistic approach to establishing relationships with potential clients.
The biggest mistake companies are making when cold calling is making a truly cold call. With absolutely no information about the prospect.
To make cold calling a beneficial way of attracting coaching clients, we recommend you follow these steps:
1. Introduce yourself. State your full name and say who you are (for example, a life coach). This may seem rather obvious. However, some coaches miss this step, leaving the person on the other end of the phone wondering who they are for the first 20 seconds. If you do this, the person you’re calling can simply miss your pitch.
2. Provide a short explanation of why you’re calling. Explain the goal of the call in one sentence that should cover the following:
- Your offer
- The reason you’re calling this particular person
- The purpose of your call
According to Gong, you can increase your cold call success rate by 2.1 times by stating the reason for calling.
Hi, your prospect’s name. This is your name, a your coaching niche coach / calling from your company name. How are you? Your prospect’s name, the reason I’m calling is…
3. Say how much time you need. The person wasn’t expecting your call, and they’ll need to not only have solid reasons to stay on the line but also understand how much of their time you will take.
4. Give your pitch. Now it’s time to give your pitch within the time you’ve set (30 seconds, in our example). Do not go beyond this time limit, and focus on your prospect’s needs. Provide specific reasons why the prospect should continue your conversation.
5. Ask for permission to go on. Now that the person knows who you are, what you’re offering, and why you’re calling them, they can decide whether they want to keep listening to you. At this step, you can ask:
Such an approach to cold calling allows you to quickly establish a foundation to continue a conversation that leads to a closed deal.
#6. Offering productized services
Productized coaching services are a powerful way to get coaching clients. A productized service is a packaged solution that helps a prospect solve a specific problem. The idea is to bundle your coaching services into a “package” that your client can purchase.
By productizing your services, you become a trusted expert in the eyes of your clients. They can immediately see what scope of services they can get and at what price. When your clients buy your productized service that solves their specific problem, they can form their opinion about you as a coach and decide on further cooperation.
#7. Asking for referrals
Referrals are one of the easiest and most obvious ways to attract coaching clients to your business. Many coaches wait for referrals to come. But your existing clients are usually busy and won’t spread your name or generate positive word of mouth for your business without some encouragement.
Instead of waiting for referrals, you can ask your happy clients for referrals. There are several actionable ways to ask for referrals and get more clients:
1. Ask directly. You can do this through emails, during an in-person meeting, by making a call, by sending a holiday card, by including a request along with your invoice, or by sending a message on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).
Below are three examples of scripts for referral requests:
2. Offer your business cards for your clients to share with their partners, friends, or acquaintances.
3. Provide value. Prepare valuable content that can be helpful and interesting for your clients and include it at the bottom of your invoice, for example. It’s a simple way to show you care about your clients even after you’ve completed their projects.
4. Offer an incentive. Using rewards such as a discount or plan upgrades can be an effective way to lead referrals to become your clients.
Tips for making referral requests effective
Asking for referrals may be challenging. In fact, it can feel downright obtrusive and awkward. To make your referral requests both polite and effective, follow these tips:
- Focus on your best clients. When asking for referrals, choose among the clients you’ve already established stable relationships with.
- Thank referral sources. Whether it’s via an email, a holiday card, an invoice, or a phone call, always thank your coaching clients for helping you grow your business.
- Make it personal. Add a personalized message in your phone calls or emails instead of sending a broad referral request to all of your clients.
- Make it simple to refer. Your clients will be more likely to help you if it’s easy for them to refer others. One possible way to do that is by creating a page or a link form, or by adding a box to your website for visitors to add email addresses of their contacts or send them personalized referral links. You can use services such as ReferralCandy or InviteBox for this purpose.
#8. Coaching for free
Another effective way of attracting potential paid coaching clients is by providing coaching services for free, especially if you’re just starting your coaching business. Although you won’t earn money, you’ll earn experience, testimonials, and referrals as well as gain confidence and hone your skills.
As you gain more coaching experience, your value as a coach will soar. Then you’ll be able to start raising prices for your services gradually from $50 at first to $100, then $150, then $200, and so on until you’ve achieved financial freedom.
An important thing to consider is that your free sessions should have a monetary value associated with them so you can start charging the full price for your services later on. With this in mind, your message can look like this: “Get a 1-hour coaching session, normally $50, for FREE!”
#9. Using social media
According to GlobalWebIndex, 54 percent of social media browsers use social media platforms to research products, services, reviews, and recommendations. That’s why having a prominent online presence on various social media networks is essential. The key is to define which social media networks your target audience uses most. For this, you should have a well-established ideal customer profile.
You can create business profiles on social media services and use them as marketing channels to share unique, informative, helpful, thoughtful, and entertaining posts about your coaching services, thus attracting target prospects and promoting your business. You can use LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and even TikTok depending on your target audience’s preferences and peculiarities.
Try various social media networks and see what works best for you. You can use all of them, but make sure to share content types and formats that are appropriate for each platform.
There are three key strategies to help you get the most out of social media.
Create powerful content
An inalienable part of success on social media is posting relevant content that helps your target audience solve specific problems. Way too frequently, coaches think that posting on social media is about getting as many people as possible to see their posts. However, this is a dreadful mistake. Success on social media is defined by what you post, not how many target prospects see your posts.
Build rapport with your audience
Build stable relationships with your audience. Like, comment, and share posts and connect with people. Help them and share your ideas, solutions, and insights without expecting anything in return. Your unfeigned interest in people’s problems will make your audience see you as a caring and generous coach, and as a result they will be more likely to connect with you and pay for your services.
Your social media presence should be consistent. If you post content once in a while, people will simply forget about you and move on. However, always pick quality over consistency. If you have no time or ideas for creating powerful content, it’s better to post a high-quality, valuable piece of content once every two weeks than to post run-of-the-mill low-value content every single day.
Apart from posts, you can host Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube Live streams. This is a great way to reach your target prospects. The power of video allows people to see what your services are all about and feel your presence.
Another way to use social media when it comes to attracting clients is to provide them with online booking options. People visiting your social media profile can pre-qualify you and immediately book a meeting with you directly from a social media page using various tools. You can share a link to your calendar with available time slots and dates or integrate a widget in your social media profile so users can schedule sessions with you without any back-and-forth communication via email or phone calls.
In the era of online marketing, your goal is to help potential clients find your services, build a strong relationship with those clients, and lead them to buy your services. Compelling content can be one of the most cost-effective ways to bring in lots of leads.
Keeping a blog on your website and regularly posting high-quality content is a great way to establish your online presence. It will also allow you to be seen as a knowledgeable expert in your coaching niche. To make the most of blogging, test alternative content formats (text, video, podcasts, etc.) to find what works best for you.
Start by blogging about topics related to your services. Think about what people ask most frequently in your niche. Consider how often you’ve googled something and found your answer on a company’s blog. Blogging is a powerful tool for establishing yourself as a thought leader. And even if the topic you’re covering doesn’t relate to your service, you’ll be driving traffic to your website, gaining brand recognition, and becoming a trustworthy expert. Remember that you’re not selling your coaching services – you’re helping people out, and this is something they’ll remember and appreciate.
To drive traffic to your blog, publish a post on social media and share the link to your blog post. Another way is to share links to your blog articles as part of your email marketing campaign. We’ll talk about that below.
Blog content is typically offered for free to boost website traffic. However, you want people not just to read your blog but to convert into paying clients later. You need a way to convert blog visitors who are interested in your expertise but aren’t ready to try your services into leads. One of the best ways to do this is by offering gated content.
Gated content is any type of content that your blog readers can access only after providing their contact details (email address or phone number). For readers to be willing to give their contact information, your content needs to provide real value. Gated content is usually in-depth and unique and offers information that can’t be found elsewhere.
#11. Guest posting
While creating content for your own blog, you can also create content for guest posting. When done properly, guest posting can bring you lots of clients. Find field-specific blogs your target audience may read and ask to guest post on them. You can write articles on topics that fit the blogs and bring readers tons of value.
To find guest posting opportunities, look at your competitors and see where they’ve guest posted. Also, guest posters usually share links to their guest posts on social media. So start following experts in your niche to find relevant blogs.
You can also sign up for MyBlogGuest, a community of guest bloggers, to search relevant blogs. On MyBlogGuest, you can also post information to say you’re looking for guest posting opportunities so that blog owners can find and contact you.
An important thing to mention is that you should have a clear goal for guest posting and prepare a winning pitch:
- Address the blog owner by name
- Make it short and to the point
- Include the title of your proposed blog post
- Describe the post briefly
- Say how your piece of content can help people
- Show you’re the right person
#12. Email marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective strategies for attracting and retaining clients. To get people to buy your services, you need to interact with them in order to get them to know you and trust you. Email marketing is a great opportunity to interact with your potential clients. Effective marketing emails allow you to convert prospects into clients and one-time buyers into fans.
You need an email list for your email marketing campaign. As we’ve mentioned, you can gather email addresses via gated content. Another way is to ask your blog readers to sign up for your newsletter by providing an email address.
To get started with successful email marketing and engage your audience, follow these tips:
- Choose the right content and have the right conversation. The content you offer should be interesting for your audience and give them value. The right conversation begins with a well-written and catchy subject that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them engaged. If the subject isn’t catchy, your email will be deleted.
- Have a strong call to action. You don’t want your email to be read and closed. You want a reader to take some action: Download your FREE checklist, Get 20% off now, Read the full story, Book a session, etc.
- Make your emails mobile-friendly. Most emails are opened on the go on mobile devices. So remember that your emails should be optimized to be viewed on tablets and smartphones so as not to miss a single click.
- Test your email marketing service. Never send anything until you make sure everything works properly. Otherwise, you’re going to look unprofessional.
Content ideas for email marketing
We’ve gathered four content ideas you can use for your email marketing campaigns if you don’t know where to start.
- Recycle content. Take one of your blog posts or social media posts that got a lot of engagement or that you think will be of great value to your readers and present it in a new format. Turn a long read article into an infographic, or transcribe your video tutorial and create a guide.
- Create pieces of content around a specific problem. Share a series of blog posts or podcasts focused on solving a specific problem. Content organized in a cohesive way makes it easy for a reader to consume information.
- Create FAQs. You definitely have a list of questions your clients frequently ask. Pick some of those and provide brief answers in emails. Choose topics your ideal client will particularly benefit from.
- Share a case study. If you have a client who has undergone an amazing transformation as a result of your coaching services, ask for their permission to share this story. By demonstrating the results people get from working with you, you increase your credibility as an expert.
#13. Answering questions on Quora
Quora allows you to earn credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Using the platform is your chance to offer value upfront by providing the best possible answers to your target audience.
Quora may be a good place to reach your potential clients. It shows questions similarly to Google. The answers beneath each question are ranked based on quality and relevance, the same as in Google search results. Providing the best answer first not only matters for ranking at the top but also enables you to gain exposure for you and your services.
Quora also awards monthly Most Viewed Writer badges by topic and annual Top Writer awards to highlight Quora’s most active contributors. By responding to questions quickly and regularly, you get the chance to be recognized. Whether there are dozens of other answers or only one, if you’re the first, others will find it difficult to trump the answer you gave or provide something different.
Webinars can be a powerful tool for attracting coaching clients because they offer instant value. During webinars, you can keep the audience engaged by providing them with valuable information. And what’s more important, attendees can ask questions and get answers in real time. This is possible with no other method of sharing your expertise.
But for webinars to generate quality leads and convert them into paying clients, there are several steps you should follow:
- Identify your audience’s needs, problems, and challenges to choose the topic for your webinar. You can ask prospects and your existing clients about what their biggest problem currently is and study the answers they provide in comments. Formulate problems you can help them solve so people can understand what they’ll learn during your webinar.
- Tease the solution you’re going to provide, but don’t share it fully. Show webinar attendees that there’s a difference between their current situation and what they can get when working with you and demonstrate that you have a solution.
- Address concerns and objections. At this step, you can share case studies from your clients who have achieved enormous success with your guidance. This helps you build trust, which is essential in today’s world of empty promises.
- Ask your viewers to act right now. Your audience should have a way to learn more about your solution, so offer some kind of action, such as booking a session with you.
- Choose and test the necessary software. During a webinar, you’ll need a video conferencing solution with screen sharing capabilities and live chat during the session for listeners to ask questions and interact with each other. Test everything carefully to look professional and not spoil the overall impression. Make sure the solution choose is scalable and allows you to host a webinar for the desired number of people. You should also check the video and audio quality.
The easiest way to get people to know about your webinar is to announce it on your social media profile and share a webinar registration page. Keep it simple — ask users to enter their name and contact details (email or phone). This will allow you to remind them about the webinar and contact them later even if they miss it.
Now you’re equipped with 14 free and effective ways to attract coaching clients. Try various methods to figure out what works best for your target audience. And remember that the best result is always achieved by combining the best strategies. To learn more about growing a successful coaching business in 2021, subscribe to our newsletter.