Does a Life coach need to learn how to sell?

16 Jul 2015
On the weekend I ran a small workshop for a bunch of life coaches that are wanting to improve their business through improving how to sell their services. What was very clear to see was that these people knew their products and services were very valuable however being able to get this point across was a challenge.
So this post is about what I learned about coaches and their sales processes and how I think you can improve your selling by understanding a very basic step.
First up there are lots of "how to sell" programs and methods to improve your ability to sell. Fact is there are many different techniques for different products. If I was to make this easy as to what technique I would use for what type of sale I'd break it into two options:
1. Tangible product;
 2. Intangible product, an outcome or solution.
So a tangible product is something you can hold, DVD, TV or book. The client gets instant gratification once they complete the transaction as they get to "hold" or "take" the item.
An intangible item is something that you do not get to hold, like a live training, online course or coaching.
With coaching everyone needs the product but it's not like when you are sick and have to go to the doctor. In coaching the client does not really just decide to come to you. There are a number of things that happen before that takes place.
For example someone has a bad breakup from their partner. They are anxious and upset. At this stage they feel that it's not going to get any better. The same can go with someone losing their job. As a result of this event other negative things may start to happen to them.
They may put on weight.
They may end up with self confidence issues.
Their self esteem takes a hit which may lead to mild depression.
They may then look for some answers to solve their problem. They talk to people, friends and family. Maybe they look online. It's at this stage the person is ready to do something about it. Many people take years to get to the point of doing something about it.
If it was as simple as buying a pill or a "go away problem tool" they would. It's at this point they start to look for alternatives.
I have found that the clients I often have are people that have tried many things, only to not get a result.
OK, so let's get to the point here. A person is ready for coaching.
Now they have the option of talking to a coach about coaching. They start to way up the option or alternatives, do they go down the traditional path of Psychologist and Psychologists or seeing a medical doctor or an alternative health option.
So all this is going on with the client before they make the call
Here is the simple steps to the 5 step sales process that I teach in trainings so coaches can learn how to sell. It is ideal for anyone that does not feel comfortable with the process of "selling". As it comes from a serving point of view rather then to "sell" them

So the 5 steps are:

1. Build rapport
2. Ask questions
3. Find a need
4. Link the need to the value
5. Close
In this post I am not going to get into the detail of the other points I want to get into point 3 and 4.

These seamed to be the hardest part of the sales process for them to understand how to do it well.

Here is an exercise for you to do, make a list of all the reasons someone comes to you for coaching.

Is it:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Weight loss
  • Overcoming fear, like phobia or anxiety
  • Increasing confidence
Then make a list of all the question you would ask a perspective client in a specific context.
I will take the smoking option for this example.
  • How long have you smoked for?
  • How often have you smoked?
  • What have you done to stop smoking?
  • What does smoking cost you?
Then taking answer to these questions and looking for the need.
for example.
How long have you smoked for? I have smoked for 15 years.
How often do you smoke? I smoke everyday about 25 a day
What have you done to stop smoking? I have tried cold turkey and patches
What does smoking cost you? It cost me $150 per week.
So now we have a bunch of questions and some answers, so now what? Well we feed them back to the client to build value.
So its clear that you have been smoking for 15 years, that would mean you are consistent!
It's also clear that you have been wasting a lot of time each day smoking.
When you gave up in the past for how long did you give up for? Client says "Well a few weeks"
Ok so you have shown that you can overcome the addition, its just the habit of smoking that you need help with, does that sound right? client says "yes"
So if I could help you change the behavior so you did not have the habit to smoke would that be useful?
If I could help you with finding the trigger that makes you want to smoke, would that help?
What would it be worth for you to stop smoking? how much would you save a year?
If we could do all that do you think that the need to smoke would be less or removed?
That's the point that you then close the sale, that is ask for the booking or order. (remember this is just an example)
So I want you to construct a number of questions that you will ask your clients/ friend in a specific context then I want you to ask real people these questions and note the response. Then with that response pull out of the clients answers the "need" that you will feed back to them.
If you want help feel free to post the questions and response in the comments and I will help you find the key words and construct the response.
The good news is once you have a pool of questions you will have typical responses you can fine tune it for the best outcome
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