Coaches are getting smarter. I’m meeting more coaches who know that the typical approach to marketing a coaching business doesn’t work well. They truly want great results, so they are using better strategies much earlier than I did in my coaching career. And it’s working for them.
That indicates the field of coaching is attracting more business oriented folks. And that means that more coaches will succeed, which makes me happy.
Success in coaching comes from a combination of persistence, belief in self, genuine interest in people, and serving a market that will go the distance — a market full of people who are motivated to buy services for their personal and professional growth. I call them Seekers.
Are You Connecting with Seekers?
Recently a coach told me about her deep passion for coaching a certain group — moms. But, despite consistent hard work trying to attract enough of them, it’s not working. Prospects smile and show enthusiasm, a few enroll, but they only stay for a few months. So now this coach is ready to choose a more viable market. After all, why stay attached to a market that’s not abundantly fruitful, both in income and coaching experiences?
Here’s the thing. No matter how much you love the idea of coaching a certain group, if they aren’t seekers — not willing to invest — not much income will flow into your coaching business. It’s a hard fact to swallow. That old saying about leading a horse to water… Well, you can lead someone to coaching, but no matter how much you think they need it, if they won’t invest in the solutions you are offering, you won’t have enough clients.
Moms are an example of a coaching market that, for most coaches, won’t go the distance. Why? Because a mom’s focus is so steadfastly on their kids. Offer them something for their kids, they’ll consider investing. But they aren’t likely to invest in support for themselves. . . at least not about issues related to being a mom.
I ask coaches who are also moms this question: Would you buy coaching to help you be a better mom, to have more balance, or to help you raise your kids? Most say NO. However, now that they are a coach and growing a business, they will invest in a mentor coach to help them earn a better living. And guess what — they will bring to that coaching table many of the issues that arise with being a mom. So… moms aren’t into buying coaching services, but mompreneurs are. Hmm. That’s interesting, isn’t it?
There are many enticing markets out there — like moms — that tempt coaches, but that don’t result in a sustainable business. You know that you’re targeting one of those if you are persistently getting in front of them and speaking their language, but it’s not resulting in a thriving coaching business.
What Makes a Market Viable?
Viable markets pass ALL of these tests. They are:
- Accessible. These folks gather in groups. They meet, they hang out together online, they read the same publications. AND they will talk to you.
- Narrow. The market is specific and unique, small enough that you can leverage your marketing efforts. It’s a lot easier to repeatedly connect with people in a small market than a large one. Which means you build trust, credibility and a leads list much faster. Plus, you have less competition.
- Seekers. They are motivated to invest in their personal and professional development.
Looking at the difference between the market of moms and the market of mompreneurs, what can we learn about choosing a viable market?
- Sometimes the coaching clients you most want to work with are contained within markets you might never have considered. Maybe you’ve felt that you aren’t qualified to work with a business market. But the ironic thing is that you work with people in business markets every day that you coach. You just aren’t thinking of it that way. And yet, if you could get over that fear, you could tap a more viable market and serve them well with the skill sets you already possess.
- Only some people are willing to seek professional support for their challenges. Coaches should look for markets that have tangible problems to solve and that are likely to seek professional support.
If you’re serious about your success and unimpressed with the results your marketing has brought so far, it’s probably not about you — it’s about the market you’re targeting.
It’s time for a strategy that has a proven track record. Target a market that meets all three viability tests, and watch your coaching business take off!
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