19 Oct, 2011
Coaching heart, commercial mind™ – Bev James
Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coach Spotlight|Coaching Articles|Coaching Client Acquisition Articles|Corporate & Executive Coaching Articles|CPD for Coaches|In The Spotlight|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Performance Coaching|Personal Success|Small Business Coaching Articles|Success Stories
Your time has financial worth as well as a professional value
No matter how much you want to help your clients, you need to remember that your time really is money, which means managing your coaching time carefully.
Many coaches over-commit their time and under-charge for their services – but you are running a business and so you need to think commercially to protect the future of your practice.
- ‘How much do I want and need to earn each year?’
- ‘What is the market rate, and what is my scale of charges?’
- ‘How many clients do I want and /or need to make this work – per year, per month, per week?’ (Taking account of seasonal variations.)
- ‘What is my customer profile?’
- ‘How am I going to find them?’
It is wise to agree a scale of times and charges up-front, otherwise you may find yourself working twice as long for half your fee. Consider offering a series of sessions and encourage pre-payment, rather than charging by the hour.
There would be little point in anyone having a single one-hour session with a personal trainer and the same applies to coaching. Instead, focus on selling a course of sessions.
After a short telephone consultation of about 15 minutes, you will be able to assess how many sessions a client is likely to need. You can then say something like, “I would estimate that we will work together for about six weeks. During that time you will have (for example) four face-to-face (or telephone) appointments with email or telephone support between sessions to share your success. The price for a six-week course is £X.’’
The majority of people are happy to pay upfront for a course as a symbol of their commitment to the process – and it gets the money bit out of the way. Not only does it increase client commitment in some cases, it also means that if someone cancels at the last minute, or if you go over time, you can charge accordingly.
Note: Never offer a free trial session. The 15-minute consultation is to find out what they would like to achieve and for you to show them how you can help.
- If you position yourself as an expert, you more likely to be sought after and people will be prepared to pay more for your help. Remember generalists seek clients; and clients seek specialists.
- Consider creating a web presence; attend events and locations where potential clients will be; focus on building relationships not just selling.
- Wherever possible, find a way to make personal contact with prospective business clients. You will win more business that way. Remember – people buy from people – and relationships are important.
- If you receive an initial email that asks, ‘How much will it cost me?’ don’t email a financial quote in reply. Invite them to call you for an informal chat to assess your needs. This is the ideal time to make a personal impression and create a communication bridge.
- In the modern world of tweeting and emailing it is easy to overlook the power of the voice or face-to-face communication. Give your prospects a chance to speak to you or meet you, and to ask questions. You are more likely to win more business that way.
Remember: you are not just charging for your time, you are charging for your expertise and the years of training and experience that have gone in to gaining that expertise. If you believe in your own worth and offer a service that reflects your value, your clients recognise it and willingly pay for it too.
Bev is CEO of The Academy Group which includes The Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy (EBA) & EBA for Coaches which are both joint ventures with James Caan. Her book “Do It! or Ditch It” has already been listed as a bestselling business title and she is ready to pass on her success to your organisation.
Connect with Bev on Google+