Why are you in the coaching business? For the fame, the money, the chance to make people’s lives better? Given your career choice the odds are that you are in for the latter but, in reality, does it matter?
Whatever your objective may be, a full appointment book is a necessity as it will provide the funds and the experience to drive your goals onward. Your appointment book directly represents how successful your career is right now and how successful it may be in the future.
But how does one fill it with relevant and, more importantly, returning clients? For that, my friends, you have the 7 P’s of marketing.
The 7 P’s stand for People, Product, Place, Promotion, Price, Process, and Physical evidence, all of which are needed to understand the basic requirements of an effective marketing strategy, However, before covering them in more detail I have to ensure that you understand where your coaching business stands right now.
How good is your coaching business today?
Now that’s one tricky question, is it not? The part that makes it so hard is the fact that you can’t answer it. What you can do, however, is ask more questions.
Hold the horses though! Don’t ask yourself whether you are a good coach or whether you are helping people. I am pretty sure that the answer to both of them is a stunning ‘yes’ but those are not the questions I was going for. They are the questions of doubt and have no effect on the business aspect of your work so it’s best if you forget about them immediately.
What you should ask yourself are the following questions:
- Did you have business and marketing strategies last year? Were you keeping up with them month by month?
- How well did you do last year? Were all of your financial expectations met?
- What is the ratio of new to recurring customers in your coaching business?
- What percentage of income do the first bring in over the latter?
- Is there a particular service or trait that attracts most of your clients whether via word of mouth or the internet?
- And lastly, when was the last time you increased the prices?
Answer all of these questions and I am sure you will know where your business stands today. Don’t worry if the results are not to your liking as the questions were a mere exercise designed to visualize your strong sides and weak points better. The future of your career is still in your hands!
The P’s in detail
Now that we have our ground covered the time has come to learn about the 7 P’s.
- Place: Do you have a brick and mortar working space or do you operate from home? Or, maybe, you come to your client’s home and coach them from the comfort of their own living room? In either case, do not limit yourself to just one option as some of your clients might prefer something others do not. There are just too many factors you are not aware of.
For example, you might believe that your #1 customer loves a workout at home, while he recently went through a difficult divorce and everything about his place only puts salt on the sour wound. Then that client might choose a different coach that works from a gym. Offer people flexibility and you will gain much more in return.
- Product: Are your services up-to-date and do they cover the needs of modern clients you are working with? Or, in other words, do people come back for more? If so, you’ve got it covered. If not – try making a survey or asking them directly about what they love and hate in you as a coach. Just remember not to take their answers personally.
- People: I don’t only mean your clients. If you are working in a group or with a team, what are others contributing? Are you getting the good results from your cooperation? Combine this one with the place and ask yourself, where the people you want to work with and those who you wish to coach are? If most of your clients love Instagram and are interested in Facebook, while your co-workers prefer to discuss work via Skype – consider doing the same instead of narrowing all interactions to just one channel that you prefer.
- Price: Check out what your competitors are offering and how much they bill for their services. Are your prices too low or too high in comparison? If not – change them accordingly.
By the way, I know that it is tempting to just lower your price and get all of your competitor’s audience but remember that two can play that game. If you lower the rates, so will the other market players and the race of price dumping will continue until the last man standing. That man will monopolize the market and raise the prices back later on but the winner has to possess the required resources: Enough to work without a profit for years upon years. Are you that man? I thought so. Don’t lower your prices!
- Promotion: This one seems easy – advertise as much as possible and you will succeed, right? Wrong. Not a living soul in this world has enough money for advertising anywhere and everywhere. Take a look at your People, analyze the most valuable income channels and invest more into them. Spread your reach on one platform instead of narrowing it to multiple ones.
- Process: Does your business bring more value into people’s lives? Does it make your clients better? Because it should. Feedback from others is the only way to know if your delivery process has what it takes.
- Physical evidence: Look at your brand from the side: look at the website, your business cards, working space and corporate t-shirts (if you have any), etc. Do you like what you see? More importantly, would you hire a coach whose business looks like your own? If “yes” that it’s awesome. If “no” – change immediately, because the evil is always in the details.
As you can see, all of the P’s are interconnected like, for instance, the promotion that involves an understanding of people, a great place and attention to physical evidence. This is what makes them so confusing and yet, for those breaking them up one by one and solving the challenges each p brings to the world of coaching is one big opportunity after another.
Better yet, you are now aware of all the pieces. All that’s left is for you is to solve the puzzle. Will you?