Money may not be the ultimate source of happiness or contentment, but lack of it may create challenges for one’s well-being. Money has some very obvious benefits including putting food on our table, a shelter over our heads, and a Netflix account.
However, many believe that the connotations of sales is far from being fair and just. The S-word may create an impression that one is trying to hook and manipulate you to make a purchase, and in the field where there is no physical product for clients to try or test, the struggle only elevates. It only makes sense why many believe this to be true, I have worked as a sales executive where I sat with 50 others like me with a script and sheets filled with details of potential clients.
Some methods of ‘making a sale’ are morally questionable, it may be because of some false promises, creating fear-based needs, or overselling the product. I would be concerned if people weren’t cautious despite such practices.
I am no business guru to guide you on how to increase your business by 10x, as I am struggling to find steady pay in the field myself. Although, I can share some of my experiences and learnings that seem to be working for me.
Be A Teller, Not A Seller
As a client, I wouldn’t want to feel that I am being manipulated to buy something. I would much rather enjoy the freedom to make a decision that comes from within. Coaching is not a transaction, it is a partnership. It is imperative for the coach and the client to build a rapport and create a safe space to proceed with the relationship.
The key for my progress is to NOT have an agenda, let me explain that. When I speak to my potential clients, I don’t have the intention to make a sale. My focus stays on understanding them, their challenges, their expectations, and their goals. I simply walk them through what Life Coaching is, how a typical session looks like, what seems to be their major areas of improvement and exploration, and how I could support them in cultivating their personal and professional goals if they decided to work with me.
Throughout my conversation with them, I make sure they feel respected, understood, and enjoy the conversation. I allow them to manifest their freedom of choice, resulting in building a good rapport and a higher chance of us working together. It is not a strategy to make a sale, but a way to find an ideal match for the coach and the client. Even as a ‘new coach in the market’, I have refused to work with people who aren’t a good fit for me. It only allows me to make room for more long-term clients. Yesterday, a client told me “I have a feeling you get me, which is something I felt was missing with my therapist. I know I am coming to you with my problems,” followed by deciding a date for renewing our sessions.
This means much more to me than having a client that I have to chase to show up for sessions. Therefore, I believe sales is not something we chase, but simply attract by being our true selves.
How to Pay Your Bills
Regardless of how good and meaningful a conversation is, there is always some level of resistance when it comes to paying for a product or service. We know we do it too, so it makes sense to expect it from our clients as well.
I used to give free sessions to people so they could see the added value and hopefully start paying me for my hard work, but my free sessions only attracted free clients. No wonder they had ‘financial problems’ when I asked for what I deserved. I wonder where their ‘financial problems’ go when they buy a new house, a car, a phone, or other essentials that are more important than working on themselves.
I guess there is still time till it is normalized to invest in your wellbeing, but let’s focus on what is in our control. I don’t blame those who aren’t ready to pay for a service such as coaching, they are (just like us) only a product of their surroundings and experiences. But there are people who are seeking professional help and are willing to pay for it too. I know this because I have lost such clients in return for some very valuable learnings.
In sales, there is a term called ‘Creating a need’, which I am sure you are familiar with. However, I like to call it ‘acknowledging their need’ because that’s what I do as a coach. I have had at least five people who took a ‘demo session’ from me and never returned. This is not because they didn’t find value in my work, but the opposite. Each of my sessions start with setting a goal and ends with reviewing the progress towards the goal. They did not return because they got a certain level of clarity in the first session and felt that’s all they needed to move forward.
It cost me 5 clients and hours of coaching to realize just how powerful each question or each moment of coaching can be for the client to have a breakthrough. Because it was worth so much, I learned not to provide it for free. Now, in my ‘demo sessions’ I only discuss their expectations, their challenges, goals, and how I would support them to progress towards the same. To my surprise, I started getting clients who were a better match and contributed towards making this struggle a delightful one.
I was recently hired as a contract-based productivity coach. I am sending proposals to several institutions, and speaking with industry leaders, not with the intention to earn more, but simply to coach more. I’d like to conclude by championing all the amazing coaches out there for working towards their goals. I have faith in all of you to create the opportunities you need to make the most of today, and tomorrow. Let money be a byproduct of who you are and what you do. All the best!
“In this life of ups and downs, be a rollercoaster” – Tushaar Chaudhary