You’re a Coach, Not a Salesperson! And yet with a little bit of know-how you can learn how to sell by playing to your strengths as a coach
Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Kevin Oubridge(United Kingdom).
You are a leadership coach. You have got several years’ experience under your belt. You are well connected with business leaders. You’re professionally qualified. You regularly attend coach training to keep up to date. You enjoy what you do and you’re earning a very healthy income … Ah, there’s the rub. You should be earning good money but the chances are you are not earning as much as you want or are worth. The trouble is you’re a coach, not a salesperson. You are not sure how to market yourself, you don’t like bothering people, you don’t like being pushy and you don’t like discussing price. You just plain don’t like selling!
The fact is though those great sales people are good at asking questions and listening and, as luck would have it, that’s your stock in trade. You are a professional at asking questions and listening. You should be able to sell your services playing to these strengths, so what’s stopping you?
What’s missing is a bit of process and currency to help you take control of your marketing. Process tells you where you are with each prospect and what you need to do to move them closer to a sale. Currency is the tools you use at each step of your process to help you.
The great thing about marketing process and currency, apart from the fact that they help you win business, is that you can use them again and again to win more and more business. And each time you repeat your process you become more comfortable and confident in what you do and more successful. Once you have broken into a new organisation you can use your process and currency to help you win further business with the client company and to seek referrals. In this way, you shorten the sales cycle because you don’t have to start with a cold contact at a networking event or some other lead generating activity.
At Accelerated Success our process starts with the first contact and supporting currency to help us engage in conversation with business leaders, qualify them as prospects and get their contact details to follow up with a brief call, followed by a half hour exploratory call. However, we rarely need to undertake the initial steps of the process because once we’ve won business with a company we focus on building the relationship and winning more business year-on-year. Hence, our first step is usually the half hour exploratory call with a leader in the company who may want to coach. At the end of the call, if we think we can help the potential client we offer them a Strategy Session.
A Strategy Session is a killer marketing tool, where the leader gets time and space to identify their vision for their part of the business and the challenges they face, and also gives them an experience of our service. Prior to the session we send the leader a questionnaire, during the session, we go through their answers in more detail and at the end of the session we set up a Report Back. We then go away and write up a summary of what was discussed in the Strategy Session, which we then talk through in the Report Back meeting. It’s a lot of work, and all for free, however, most leaders who have a Strategy Session then go on to purchase a full coaching programme, so it’s worth it.
Once we’ve won the business, in addition to the coaching sessions themselves, we have various additional meetings
which maximise the value of the coaching for the participant and also promote that value to other stakeholders (the diagram shows an Accelerated Success programme in full).
The real value of this approach is that we build relationships with all the stakeholders in a coaching programme — the coaching participant, their line manager, the budget holder paying for the coaching and HR. All stakeholders are clear on the value we bring, which sets us up nicely to enquire where else they might use us. We offer further Strategy Sessions for any individuals they identify as potential coaching clients, meaning they can make their decision as to whether to fund a coaching programme after a thorough investigation into the value the coaching will bring. The Business Value meeting and Report Back adds further value for the client company and also gives us another opportunity to ask for the further business. Not forgetting, Report Backs provide an opportunity to seek referrals to other parts of the business or to other companies.
Our process and supporting currency helps us build long-term productive relationships with Blue Chips, where we win business year-on-year. As a coach, you can use our process or develop your own to grow your business by playing to your strengths of asking questions and listening. It still takes a lot of courage, determination and discipline but it’s so much easier when you have the steps mapped out for you — you’ll feel in control of your marketing, possibly for the first time, and you’ll be much more successful.
To find out how you can win business with Blue Chips visit our website at www.bluechipcoaching.co.uk– you can join our action learning community and receive free resources to help you get started. Also, look out for our new book on doing business with Blue Chips, The Leadership Coaching Alligator Handbook, available via our website and online book sellers.
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