Struggling to Sell?

Hi, Everyone!

Yesterday, I saw the following post on the Career & Life Coach Network board on Linkedin and just HAD to respond:

“Confidence as a coach, but not so much as a salesperson – so how do you survive? As a coach in business for herself, I’m as much an entrepreneur as a practitioner of my craft. But my focus of course is on being a great coach, more so than being a good marketer or sales person. I’m curious how other coaches have trained themselves to become “marketers” or “salespeople” at the level they need to be, in order to bring in enough business to sustain a thriving coaching practice? What if you’re confident as a coach, but not so confident as a salesperson?”

So here’s my response:

“It’s interesting that you brought this up. We’ve been in the corporate sales training business for nearly 30 years, and recently we’ve been chatting with the leaders of several coaching schools about the coach/sales dilemma. As a result, we’ll be offering a short course in the MasterStream Method for coaches and other human development professionals in the next several weeks.

What I would like to share at this point is that in our experience with the more than 250 coaches we work with:

1) Most don’t understand the difference between marketing and sales — and believe that effective marketing will get them clients. In truth, the purpose of marketing is to establish a brand that generates inquiries about your services — and the purpose of sales is to convert those inquiries into clients. As we learned at the recent Prism Awards in Atlanta, many coaches feel they are doing a fine job on the marketing side, but simply cannot convert those inquiries into clients.

2) Most coaches seem to approach sales as though it was a simple variation on coaching. Using coaching skills as a substitute for sales skills is as illogical as using sales skills as a substitute for coaching skills. Successful coaches view themselves as being in two distinct businesses: the business of providing coaching services and the business of finding clients — two different roles requiring two different skill sets and the willingness to apply the correct skill set at the appropriate time.

3) Coaches, like the majority of people, are concerned that behaving like a typical sales representative runs contrary to their personal styles and the images they would like to have with their clients. I can completely understand their fear — but there are sales methods which honor all parties involved AND produce a higher closing rate in a shorter period of time.

4) The biggest reason coaches struggle isn’t because of what they aren’t doing when it comes to working with a prospect — it’s because of the things they ARE doing which undermine their best intentions. I recently posted an article demonstrating one such behavior on our blog. I don’t know if it’s OK to post a link in this forum — so I’m sorry if I’m breaking any rules:

“Wanna Sell More? DON’T do this!”

Why do you think coaches and other human development professionals struggle with the sales part of business development?



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