How to turn your coaching service into a product
Marketing is often talked about in relation to ‘products’ — but how does that apply when you view what you do as a service?
What’s more, why bother thinking in product terms? Why not just market your services?
For the simple reason, people (potential clients) are more comfortable buying products. Products — whether the latest iPhone or a tin of peas — are tangible, demonstrable, easier to attribute value to.
If your marketing can give people something to grasp (literally or metaphorically) about what you’re offering then they’ll see it as valuable — at which point they start to think seriously about buying.
Here we often talk about marketing your coaching as a product and I realised the other day that I’ve never actually written about a very common question I get asked: What is a coaching product?
So here’s my answer…
The product is the whole package
Put simply, your coaching product is everything the client gets when they work with you. It’s a series of 1–2–1 or group sessions. Or a workbook. Or specific techniques relevant to their situation. Or all of this and more.
Whatever interactions, resources, tools or props you provide or deploy, that’s your product.
As mentioned above, people are better at buying products. They pick something up in a shop, decide if they want it and, if so, take it to the checkout to buy.
This process is so common, most people navigate it with ease.
With a less tangible ‘product’ like coaching, it’s harder to pick up, picture, visualise or put into context and usually there’s a process of consideration before saying “yes”.
This is where your marketing can help.
For example, a mistake made by many coaches is they forget to actually describe what their coaching method or process is. (This is a key part of the product!)
It’s easy to do, especially if you’ve been coaching for years. When you work at something for a long time, the simple, basic details sometimes become so everyday, so obvious that you forget to explain what they are. Much like me forgetting to provide an answer to the question, What is a coaching product?
Tune in to what the potential client needs to know
Without a clear explanation of what your coaching product is, the client is left trying to work out if it’s what they’re looking for. They are left asking questions like:
- Will this get me where I want to go?
- Does this include what I think I need to get there?
- Can I do this? Is this manageable?
- How long does this take?
- How much work do I need to commit to?
- Do I trust this person to guide me through it?
So how can you answer these questions and explain your coaching in a way that feels like a ‘product’ to the client?
Just the simple act of packaging sessions together helps clients better understand what’s on offer.
Let’s say you work through a three-step process with clients or your work is based on three key principles, then saying you deliver sets of 3, 6 or 9 (multiples of 3) sessions makes sense to the client.
It gives them a sense of time, the emotional and energy commitment needed, and helps them feel more confident in the process as a whole.
On the other hand, just stating a price per session and saying they can have as many as they want (or need) introduces uncertainty. An open-ended process is less ‘graspable’ (in fact, it’s beginning to sound more like therapy!)
A key element of any coaching process is the relationship between client and coach. That’s why we often encourage marketing and content that builds trust and therefore establishes the beginnings of this relationship — in this sense, the coaching product is you! Tell them about yourself.
But… “My process is emergent, open, not easily nailed down.”
We hear this often and it’s a great way to coach, once you understand coaching.
If a client is new to coaching then for some the concepts of space and emergence might be reassuring but they’re hard to conceptualise, until after they have experienced it.
That’s why, for new clients, describing your process in a way that has some clear boundaries (‘productising’ it) can help them feel more comfortable in making a commitment to doing the work. Sometimes it’s enough to give some broad limits, such as saying you work through a set of principles and typically this work takes X sessions.
Clients find it easier to buy something tangible
Presenting yourself and your coaching as more product-like is effective. But you don’t have to put everything in the package, providing lots of detail. In fact, the simpler the better. Just putting a simple wrapper around the work you do when you describe it gives the potential client more confidence in both you and what you do. A confident potential client is more likely to become a client.
Your product doesn’t have to be the most feature-packed product out there. You don’t have to match what someone else is delivering to keep up or compete. Remember, your offer will be unique because you are part of the product on offer and no one else does what you do quite like you do it.
Presenting your coaching as a product can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re thinking about it on your own. We work with a lot of coaches as they go through the process of creating or re-imagining their coaching product as part of our coach’s marketing journey course. If you’d like some guidance through the process and want to join a group of like-minded coaches also creating their own coaching products then consider our free 14-day community membership trial.