When it comes to becoming a successful coach, creating packages your clients want to buy should be your number one priority. Although that seems obvious, an attractive coaching package needs to include a series of key features that tell your client “this package is worth the investment because it will help you achieve the specific results you’re after.”
Investing some extra time in designing an effective coaching package will not only increase your chances of success, but it will make you look more professional and more attractive to potential clients.
Define Your Target Market
The days of pitching your services to the general public are over, according to Aimee Bernstein, an executive coach and psychotherapist, and author of Stress Less Achieve More: Simple Ways to Turn Pressure into a Positive Force in Your Life. “These days it’s all about niche marketing,” Bernstein explains. “That means you need to clarify the segment of the population you want to work with based on your passion, purpose and expertise.”
This is important because, according to Bernstein, you might find that the segment you want to target actually reflects a deep personal need. “For example, when I was in my thirties I worked primarily with women who were exploring their power because I was developing my own personal power,” Bernstein says. “As I felt more confident, I began coaching both men and women in corporations and gained a broader understanding of how power is used and misused in our society.”
Defining your target market is also essential for professional success. So much, in fact, that self-worth coach and advice columnist Abiola Abrams recommends putting together a detailed client profile, also known as an avatar, to help you define your target market. Abrams also recommends asking yourself a number of questions regarding that target client, such as: What is her level of education? Her income? What does she read? What kinds of TV or movies does she watch? What are her challenges? What are her dreams, desires, and goals?
“You should intimately know who your ideal client is and then create your program and your marketing materials as though you are speaking to one specific person in your target market,” Abrams adds.
If you think narrowing your reach will hurt you, you’re wrong. “Niche-ing down terrifies many coaches,” according to Abrams. “We think that by being general we will appeal to as many clients as possible, but the opposite is true.” By appealing to everyone, you appeal to no one, says Abrams. “Generic promises of empowerment and transformation are too vague to build a coaching practice. You are therefore doing your target market — your tribe — a disservice.”
Contrary to what you might think, this doesn’t limit your reach. In fact, Abrams says you can increase your options by looking beyond the obvious but without spreading too thin. “Rather than creating many different programs to serve many different markets, create varied programs to serve one market.,” Abrams explains. “Within your niche market, you can provide different levels of service, with different levels of access to you.”
For example? Well, Abrams is a speaker, blogger, advice columnist, and author in addition to being a coach. “So that sounds like I do many different things,” she says. “The opposite is true: I do only one thing in service to one group and I do it on many platforms.”
Structure Your Packages
People are so busy these days that if they are not immediately attracted by your coaching package, they will stop reading, says Bernstein. Thus, structure is important as it makes your offer easier to understand, she adds.
In her book Stress Less Achieve More, however, Bernstein points out there’s a caveat to structure: it should partner with flow in order to be effective. “Too much structure and the package becomes boring; too much flow and it becomes chaotic,” she explains.
Structure is key with coaching because, according to Bernstein, people don’t really want coaching. “What they want solutions to their issues and challenges,” Bernstein adds. How they arrive to those solutions isn’t really important, but giving them structure makes it easier and less overwhelming to implement changes and get through challenges.
A simple way to structure your package is to create a 5 or 7 step signature system, according to Abrams. “And start to take note on how you help your clients that you already have.” says Abrams. “There are probably steps that you always take. that is your system.”
Pick an Exciting Name
If you’ve been naming your coaching packages things like “six month coaching” or “gold package,” you’ve doing yourself a disservice. If you pay attention to what successful coaches do, you’ll see they’re much more likely to call their packages things like “six months to transform your life and get the career of your dreams.” The reason? Being specific sells.
Exciting names will grab the potential client and make him sit up and pay attention, and they will also help the coach to stand out from the crowd, says Maxine Attong, a coach, Gestalt Organizational Development practitioner, and Certified Professional Accountant. “It may convey a problem that people are grappling with right now and will be something that they want to solve,” Attong says. “It can also suggest an outcome that they may want.”
The key to a good name? Attong says you choose something that represents what you do, a name that aligns with your business. “Then add a tag line that tell the client what’s in it for them and what they will get out of it will remove her guessing game from it,” she explains.
Highlight Your Own Strengths
Whatever your strengths are as a coach, highlighting them will make your package more attractive and put you above the competition. “You need to know what is unique about what you have to offer,” says Abrams. “The choice is yours in how you build your program.”
For example, Abrams enjoys speaking, which lead to a popular YouTube channel where she produce videos about getting out of your own way. She also hosts an iTunes podcast called “Spiritpreneur School” and give speeches and give advice on lots of TV shows. “If you are painfully shy, you may find doing something like this intimidating as part of your coaching practice,” she says. “Instead, you can interview other experts via email and add these PDF conversations to your packages as bonuses.”
Your personal likes and interests can also be used to attract clients. “When the coach’s interest and the clients’ interest meet then the coach can be more effective and readily available to the client,” says Attong. “For example, I use my background in accounting and work in business to work with clients who are interested in developing a business.” Attong also uses the skills learned from working in organizations to assist managers and other leaders to navigate the politics of their organizations, to learn from their missteps and plan for future opportunities.
Offer Bonuses that Accelerate Client Success
Here’s the key about successful bonuses: they must be related to the program. This could be provate forums or Facebook groups where your clients can stay in touch with you or others, suggests Abrams. “Bonuses can also include 1-on-1 sessions with you, bonus recordings, and tickets to your live events,” she adds.
One thing about bonuses is that they make the client feel important. “Sending out additional material on a weekly basis makes it seem that the coach is always on the top of the game,” says Attong. As an example, Attong ads that she has a number of articles and books that she will recommend to clients, but she also shares information on lectures, random links to an article that reflects some of their issues or even a booklet –online, a pdf or a hard copy. “It sends the message that I have thought about this, I have designed this, and I am ready to walk you through this journey,” Attong explains.
When trying to come up with bonuses, think of what is most valuable to your ideal client, but always remember that a good program should be able to cater to all learning styles. For example, Abrams says that if you are creating a video course, you should add transcripts and checklists as well. “Some people learn by reading, some of us digest material visually via photos and charts and others need to listen to something to really get it,” Abrams adds.
Stumped as to what to offer? Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective. “People love freebies so a free journal may be inexpensive but it goes a long way in building goodwill,” Attong says.
Pick the Right Price
Pricing is always a tricky business for coaches. “On one hand you want compensation that reflects what the market will bear as well as your track record of success,” says Bernstein. “On the other hand, even if you are the best of the best, you don’t want to overprice and limit repeat business and referrals.”
To find a balance, Bernstein says she charges the high end of normal for her sessions with corporations. “However, when I work with the public, I cut my fee in half,” she explains. “I know I could focus on providing my services only to high paying customers but my intention is to serve the greater good and most people can’t afford my corporate fee.”
She adds that she also offers half price fees to leaders in nonprofit organizations and for people who seem genuinely interested in evolving their consciousness and performance but can’t afford her full price. “Bottom line, pricing is tied to how you value yourself and your skills, your purpose and intention as well as the marketplace,” Bernstein adds.
As a coach trying to market your services, pricing can be a dealbreaker. Rather than grudgingly agreeing to low fees that make you uncomfortable, consider offering different packages with very different price levels. Clients who can’t afford your all-inclusive package with live sessions can maybe pay for a less intensive pack that allows them for email or phone consultations – which are in turn less time-consuming and cheaper for you to offer.
Remember, you only have one chance to grab the attention of a potential client. By spending some time designing a captivating coaching package your chances for success will increase exponentially.