Gaining new coaching clients, in many ways, can feel like selling Girl Scout Cookies. When you first receive your initial shipment of cookies (a.k.a. your coaching certification), it can feel like you’ve suddenly got a bunch of desirable goods to share, without a clear idea of how to find the right people who want or need them.
So what do you do?
Your first inclination might be to sell to those you know—your family members, your friends, your neighbors, etc. However, you’ll probably soon run out of acquaintances with a sweet tooth.
You might’ve also thought to ask your friends and family members (even those who weren’t personally in need of your services) to help spread the word about your new coaching business. (Good thinking!) And maybe you’ve also read personal stories from other professional coaches or an article or two on how to get your first coaching client.
But, if you’re reading this, it means you’ve got more openings to fill on your client roster. So, what now?
How to get your “second wave” of clients as a life coach
This is, unfortunately, where the Girl Scout similarities end (but feel free to munch on some cookies while you keep reading). Even after you’ve tapped your personal network, the good news is that your training has taught you that you can do things that feel hard at first—and to trust the process.
To get new clients as a life coach, some fresh ideas and a little bump in the right direction can go a long way. Just remember not to get so attached to the outcome of getting clients that you forget to show up as your relaxed, radiant self. And you don’t need to worry about forcing it! By putting yourself out there and trying new things, the right clients will come.
Whether you prefer in-person networking or marketing from the comfort of your couch, here are ten suggestions to help get you started.
In-person networking ideas
Simple math tells us the more people you know, the more potential clients you could have—and you’re much less likely to meet new people while sitting at home. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to get yourself out there and connect with new people! Here are five different routes you could take.
1. Attend a class reunion
Returning to your alma mater is a great way to meet fellow alums and professionals in a similar stage of life, and rekindle old relationships with friends and acquaintances. Your new career path is virtually guaranteed to come up in conversation, which offers a natural way to share what you do and plant the seed (maybe even hand them a business card!) in case they—or someone they know—is ever interested in your services.
2. Reach out to fellow coaches
A common limiting (and untrue) belief is that there aren’t enough clients to go around. You may be surprised how many coaches will happily refer clients to another professional coach they know and trust, whether it’s because they’re not a good fit or they don’t currently have the bandwidth to take on new clients. We encourage you to reach out to at least one or two iPEC graduates—particularly those in a different coaching specialty than you—and explore the opportunity for a two-way referral partnership that feels like a true win-win for you both.
3. Attend an industry tradeshow or event
Speaking of coaching specialties, becoming more involved in your chosen field is a great way to meet new clients. For instance, if you’re a small business coach, you could attend a handful of trade shows for pet groomers, automotive repair professionals, web designers, or any other local event where specialized entrepreneurs are likely to gather. Consider the types of events your ideal client is likely to attend, and look for opportunities to be in the mix.
4. Join a local group or club
Another great way to network is to take advantage of your community’s social offerings. Join the local Rotary Club! Become an active participant in the Chamber of Commerce! Sign up to be a PTA member for your child’s school district (particularly if you’re a teen and parent coach)! Depending on where you live, there could be dozens of great opportunities to meet people and establish yourself as a trusted coach in those spaces.
5. Volunteer for a charitable cause
People who are passionate about a cause are often looking for ways to make a difference, so modeling your coaching skills—and maybe even offering your services—can be a great way to help them reach their goals and make an impact in the world. Even if it doesn’t result in a coaching client for you directly, you still have an opportunity to make a strong impression that helps them remember you and suggest you as a coach down the line. (Regardless, there’s something fulfilling about knowing your time was well spent contributing to a cause you care about!)
At home marketing ideas
We totally get it—in-person networking is not for everyone. If the idea of attending an event full of strangers is not your cup of tea, consider experimenting with growing your clientele in one of the following five ways.
1. Create a local Google Business listing
For your clients, discovering a good life coach is really not all that different from finding the nearest coffee shop or highest-rated auto repair center. If you haven’t done so already, create a new business profile today. Just make sure you fill in your profile as completely and accurately as you can, to ensure every new lead is qualified and the best possible fit.
2. Amp up your online presence
This starts with making sure your website (if you have one) and any social media profiles are up-to-date and present you in a way that’s intentional and authentic. (Pro-tip: be sure to ask your current clients for testimonials and share them everywhere you have a social media presence!)
Then, consider including links to them in your email signature and adding your handles to your business cards to make the most of every interaction. Many referrals will want to vet you first, and one of the most common ways they’ll do that is by perusing your online content. Don’t lose them with an online profile you haven’t updated in years!
3. Become a guest writer for an industry blog
Guest writing for an industry blog is another great way to get exposure and attract new clients. Choose a blog that’s highly respected within your coaching specialty, and reach out to inquire about their readership numbers and opportunities to include a link or two back to your own website. Once you’ve chosen a publication, be sure to submit only well-written, informative articles that are relevant to your target audience to help position you as an authority in the space. And if they offer an opportunity to include a link to your website in your byline, be sure to take them up on that!
4. Appear as a guest on a podcast or radio program
If writing isn’t your thing, podcasts and radio shows might be more your speed. While radio might feel like a tougher egg to crack at first, we’re currently living in a podcast boom with new shows popping up every single day. If you can find one that’s relevant to your target audience, reach out and offer to be a guest expert! Not only will this give you exposure to potential clients, but it will also help you build your reputation as a specialist in your field.
5. Experiment with digital ads
While we realize that many coaching graduates may be strapped for cash at first, you might be surprised at how cost-effective a search ad campaign can be. Google Ads, for instance, has options to only pay for results, such as clicks to your website or calls to your business. While it may seem intimidating at first, you certainly don’t need to be a digital marketing specialist to set up your first campaign, as they have plenty of new tools that make it easy for anyone to find success.
Final thoughts on how to get clients as a life coach
When it comes to getting new coaching clients, don’t be afraid to get creative! With a little ingenuity and effort, you can find new and effective ways to reach potential clients that you may have never thought of before. And with a solid plan in place, you can continue to attract new business long after your personal network has been exhausted.
Remember, you get the choice when it comes to your marketing strategy. You can experiment with the networking or marketing models that spark your interest and choose to pursue the ones you want—at your own pace. And the best part is, with iPEC, not only will you be prepared for the journey, but you’ll have a vast network of support along the way.
Have more questions about the realities of identifying and attracting paying clients?
For a more in-depth look, get your free copy of How to Land Professional Coaching Clients: An Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Coaching Career Off the Ground.