how to sell coaching services

A guide to authentic selling for life, health, relationship, and career coaches

Ever wonder how to actually sell your coaching services without being pushy, salesy, or spammy? This post is for you!

Why you need to get comfortable selling your coaching services

As a coach, your primary goal is to help your clients achieve their full potential and create positive change in their lives, health, relationships, or career. 

If you’re like many of the coaches I work with, you chose this profession because of your strong desire to help people and make a positive difference. But you might also struggle when it comes to selling your coaching services. 

Sales (and marketing, for that matter!) often don’t feel natural, especially if you’re a new coach or don’t have experience selling. But being able to sell coaching is a key part of running and growing a successful business.

Selling is part of serving as a coach

In order to make a living as a coach, you need to have paying clients. In order to have paying clients, you need to learn how to effectively sell your coaching services. 

Many coaches struggle with the idea of selling because they associate it with being pushy or manipulative. But selling doesn’t have to be “salesy.”

In fact, selling can be a genuine and authentic process that allows you to connect with those you can serve and make a meaningful impact in their lives.

Sales is part of serving. And when you can see selling as simply inviting the right-fit clients to work with you at the right time, you can start to embrace the power of selling as what it is: a connection of equal energy exchange between you and another human that can lead to a powerful coaching relationship.

The difference between selling and marketing

Before we dive into the specifics of selling coaching services, let’s talk about the difference between sales and marketing. While both are essential for growing your coaching business, they serve different purposes.

Marketing is about creating awareness and generating interest in your coaching services. 

  • Marketing your coaching business includes the strategy, plan, and actions you take to put yourself out there and share about your business. 
  • Marketing includes activities like social media, content marketing, speaking, podcasting, collaborations, and networking, just to name a few. 
  • Marketing is a long-term strategy that helps you build an audience and establish your expertise in your coaching niche.

Selling, on the other hand, is the process of converting prospective ideal clients into paying clients. 

  • The sales process includes building the know, like, and trust factor with those you can serve over a period time.
  • Selling for coaches often includes offering a discovery call or consultation to address the needs and concerns of the prospective client and establish if coach and client are the right fit to work together.
  • Selling is a personalized process that involves understanding and addressing the unique challenges and aspirations of each individual client.

Selling is inviting the right fit clients at the right time

Being successful at selling as a coach is not about convincing someone to buy something they don’t need or want. It’s about finding the right fit clients who can benefit from your coaching services and inviting them to explore the possibility of working together. 

Selling is a two-way street where both parties have to be aligned in terms of goals, values, and expectations. Just as you are choosing to work with this client, the client is choosing to work with you.

Timing is key when it comes to selling coaching. Your client has to be in the right circumstance and mindset to be ready to buy. It’s important to realize that not everyone is ready for coaching right now.

The key is understanding the signals and signs that a prospective client is ready to begin. This means the sales process starts way before the discovery call!

What holds coaches back from selling their services

There are a few common issues that hold coaches back from selling their services.

Fear of rejection

One of the main reasons coaches struggle with selling is the fear of rejection. It’s daunting to put yourself out there and face the possibility of being turned down!

But it’s important to remember that rejection is not a reflection of your worth as a coach. It simply means that it may not be the right time or right fit for your coaching services. 

The faster you can uncouple your sales from your self-worth, the more confident you will become at selling.

The belief that sales is manipulative

Another common barrier to selling for coaches is the belief that selling is inherently manipulative or unethical. This is a common misconception that stems from the negative connotations associated with old-school sales techniques.

However, selling coaching services is different than selling products or even other services. As a coach, your sales process should align with your values and reflect who you are. Selling coaching is about building trust, establishing a genuine connection, and communicating the unique value you can provide.

When you approach selling from a place of integrity and authenticity, you can create win-win situations for yourself and your clients.

Concern that you have to be someone you’re not

A third objection that coaches often have to selling is the idea that they have to be someone they’re not to get the sale. They fear they have to act fake, follow a script, or say the exact right words to sign a client.

On the contrary, when your sales process is as authentic as you are, you naturally attract and sign the clients who are meant to work with you.

It’s all about infusing your own personality into the process, not about emulating a coach you saw on Instagram.

Selling does not have to include high pressure sales tactics

I’ve been in the coaching industry for a while now, and I’ve heard many examples of high pressure sales tactics that coaches use, on and off discovery calls to get a client.

From pressuring someone to give their credit card information on a call to sending cold DMs, many of these tactics don’t work — and don’t feel good! If you feel sleazy pressuring someone to give you their credit card information on a call, think about how it must feel for them.

I’ve been on the receiving end of these conversations. I’ve hired business coaches myself throughout the years, and it was rare for me to find one who didn’t pressure me into the sale. Sadly, even the spiritual / “good vibes” type coaches can also use some of the most manipulative sales tactics! 

False scarcity, big promises, pressure-filled conversations… no one wants to feel “sold to” like this. And you don’t want to sell like this. Don’t worry — you don’t have to!

Selling is a process that starts long before the discovery call

The journey that a prospective client takes from finding you to hiring you is a step by step process that takes time. This process is sometimes referred to as a sales funnel. Don’t let that term scare you! It’s actually much simpler than you think.

A sales funnel is simply the process that someone takes from finding you to hiring you as their coach. While the sales funnel may look similar, the content for your specific sales funnel will be dictated by what you know about your ideal client.

Ideally, your sales funnel will align with your and your business’s values, provide value at each stage, and leave a positive impression, whether someone chooses to work with you or not.

Your sales funnel, when done correctly, is a natural step-by-step process that doesn’t feel abrupt, salesy, or manipulative.

simple sales funnel for coaching business

How to build a sales funnel to sell your coaching services

Here’s an example of a safe funnel tailored for a life coaching business that you could modify to suit your coaching business. To customize your sales funnel, it’s important to understand what the journey looks like for your ideal clients.

Defining your ideal customer journey can help you determine which activities you need to take at each stage of the sales process.

Stage 1: Awareness. Focus on attracting your ideal clients.

In this phase, you want to create compelling content (whether it’s written, video, or audio) that attracts an audience of your ideal clients.

  • Start by sharing content such as blog posts, social media updates, or videos that inspire and address common life challenges.
  • Use empathy to connect with your audience and acknowledge their pain points and desire, while establishing yourself as an authority in your coaching niche.

Stage 2: Interest and Engagement. Focus on capturing and nurturing leads.

In this phase, you’ll want to engage with your audience and offer something of value for them to take the next step.

  • Offer a free resource, such as a self-assessment quiz, free guide, or free meditation for signing up to your email list 
  • Share consistent value, either in the form of a regular email newsletter or regular Youtube videos that provide valuable tips, stories of personal growth, and insights, and help to establish the know, like and trust factor with your audience.

Stage 3: Intent and Evaluation. Offer free discovery calls.

In this phase, you’ll invite your prospective clients to get on a discovery call to learn more about working together.

  • Offer a free discovery call or consultation for prospective clients where you can listen to their needs and offer support.
  • Share more about your offerings, including the options for working together and answer any questions.

Stage 4: Purchase and Enrollment. Enroll and onboard your client.

You’ll move to this phase if you’ve determined that it’s a good fit on the discovery call and the client has said yes to moving forward.

  • The new client completes enrollment. This usually entails signing a client agreement, submitting payment, and scheduling their first session.
  • Welcome and onboard your new client with any resources they may need during your time together. A Client Welcome Guide is great for this!

Stage 5: Retaining and Referrals. Ask for testimonials.

After your coaching arrangement with the client wraps up, you may decide to continue to work together in some capacity or move forward. Either way, you want to maintain your relationship.

  • Provide continuation options for clients who want to continue working with you.
  • Encourage happy clients to provide testimonials and refer other clients to you. Highlight their success stories on your website and marketing materials to show new clients what is possible.

Handling “objections” when selling coaching 

During the sales process, potential clients may raise objections or concerns that need to be addressed.

Personally, I don’t believe in “overcoming” objections. A true coach will help her prospective clients clarify their concerns, listen without agenda, and support them in making the best choice for them at the time — even if it’s not moving forward.

That said, you will want to be prepared for these common concerns your prospective clients may have during the sales process:

Price Objections

It’s important that you as a coach can clearly and effectively communicate the value of working with you. Sales is an exchange of value for money. Your clients pay you and in return, they receive coaching that helps them achieve their goals.

However, if an ideal client can’t afford you and you want to work with them, you might consider ways to make coaching more affordable, including payment plans, a scholarship program, or a lower priced offer to support them.

Time Objections

If a potential client says they don’t have enough time to commit to coaching, you might consider highlighting the potential time savings, increased productivity, and faster results they can experience through coaching.

Emphasize that coaching is an investment in their personal and professional growth. However, I caution any coach on taking on a client who is not willing to invest their time. The best clients are those who understand that change takes time and are willing to adjust accordingly.

Uncertainty

Some potential clients may be uncertain about the coaching process or unsure if coaching will work for them. (In fact, I would say that this is probably the real #1 objection to coaching!)

You want to be able to explain how coaching can support this person specifically. You can address their concerns by sharing success stories, testimonials, or offering a trial session to demonstrate the value of coaching.

Trust

Building trust is crucial in the coaching relationship. That is why the know, like and trust factor is such an important one, especially when offering services like coaching that are so personalized to the client.

This is why you want to use your website, your online presence, and your marketing to establish your expertise and build trust, so that by the time someone hops on a discovery call with you, you’ve already established a baseline of trust.

Keep in mind…

A potential client’s concerns aren’t always objections to be overcome. They are often opportunities to deepen the conversation and address concerns. In some cases, you may uncover that it isn’t the best time or best fit to move forward.

By demonstrating empathy, understanding, and expertise, you can sign more of the right fit clients and create powerful, long-lasting coaching relationships.

Retaining your best coaching clients is part of selling

Selling coaching services is not just about acquiring new clients; it’s also about retaining your existing clients and building long-term relationships.

Here are some strategies for retaining your best coaching clients:

  1. Deliver exceptional value: Continuously deliver exceptional coaching sessions that exceed your clients’ expectations. Provide personalized insights, actionable strategies, and ongoing support to ensure their progress and growth.
  2. Regular check-ins: Stay connected with your clients through regular check-ins. This can be through email, phone calls, or video meetings. Show genuine interest in their progress, celebrate their successes, and address any challenges they may be facing.
  3. Continued learning and development: Invest in your own learning and development to stay at the forefront of coaching trends and techniques. By continuously improving your skills and knowledge, you can provide even more value to your clients.
  4. Ask for feedback: Regularly seek feedback from your clients to understand their experience and identify areas for improvement. Actively listen to their suggestions and implement changes that enhance their coaching journey.
  5. Reward loyalty: Show appreciation for your long-term clients by offering special discounts, exclusive resources, or additional coaching sessions. This not only encourages their continued commitment but also strengthens the bond between coach and client.

By focusing on client retention, you can create a thriving coaching practice and build a community of satisfied clients who become your biggest advocates.

Resources and tools for selling coaching services

Selling coaching services can be made more effective and efficient with the help of various resources and tools. Here are some recommendations:

  • Lead tracking tools: You want to have a way to track coaching leads and your touchpoints through the process. At the beginning, you can use a simple Google sheet to do this. When you’re further along in your business, you might use a CRM like Hubspot.
  • Client management platforms: Client management platforms like Paperbell can make it easier for you to onboard new clients by having the client agreement, payment, and scheduling all in one place.
  • Scheduling tools: If you don’t use an all-in-one platform, using scheduling tools like Calendly or Acuity can simplify the process of booking discovery calls or consultations with potential clients.
  • Payment processors: Set up a secure and convenient payment processing system to accept payments from your clients. Options like PayPal, Stripe, or Square can be integrated into your website.

By utilizing these resources and tools, you can streamline your sales process, automate certain tasks, and focus more on what you do best – coaching and transforming lives.

Embracing an authentic and non-salesy approach to selling coaching services

At the core of selling coaching services without being salesy is being as authentic as possible in your sales and marketing, while focusing on building genuine connections. 

Here are some principles to keep in mind:

Be yourself: Stay true to your brand values, personality, and coaching style. People are drawn to authenticity and are more likely to trust and resonate with you when you are genuine.

Listen actively: Listen to your potential clients’ needs, concerns, and aspirations. Show empathy, ask thoughtful questions, and truly understand their perspective. Practice the same active listening as you do in your coaching sessions, and you can’t go wrong.

Focus on value: Shift your mindset from selling to providing value. Instead of focusing on closing a sale, focus on how you can help potential clients achieve their goals and overcome their challenges. When you genuinely believe in the value of your coaching services, selling becomes a natural and non-salesy process.

Build relationships: Selling coaching services is not a one-time transaction; it’s about building long-term relationships. Nurture your connections, provide ongoing support, and celebrate your clients’ successes. This creates a strong referral network and happy clients who sing your praises.

Selling coaching services authentically is possible when you adopt a genuine, client-centered approach. When you understand the needs and aspirations of a prospective client and focus on building a true connection, you can sell your coaching services in a way that feels natural and aligned with your purpose as a coach.

Are you ready to feel more confident selling your coaching services?

If you’re ready to take your coaching business to the next level and learn more about authentic sales and marketing, I invite you to book a consultation with me. 

Together, we can explore strategies tailored to your unique coaching practice and help you attract and sign your ideal clients in a way that feels authentic and aligned with your values.