From open slots to fully booked

A diary lies open on a wooden desk, ready to be filled with appointments and plans.

Let’s talk about the roadmap to becoming a fully booked coach. 

Whether you are just starting out, or looking to grow and expand your business, this article will help you with actionable strategies to guide you on your journey to success. 

Yesterday, I held a one-to-one VIP day with someone who has been going round and round on her niche for three years. Three years!

And, just as I knew she would, we got her niche nailed down within that one session yesterday. I am so happy for her, because it really is the foundation of your business. 

So, no guessing what my first point is for your roadmap to building a successful business. 

 

Understanding your niche and your ideal client

 

This is particularly crucial now that we are operating in a global economy. 

Since Covid, everything’s mostly available online. Before then, you might have got away with being a general coach because people would have been looking for coaches available within their local neighbourhood, who would have been convenient for them to meet up with.

Now, because you’re likely to be working with people online, you can choose someone from literally anywhere in the world.

The world is your oyster

This practically infinite choice means that you can find exactly what you want. 

And the only way you can find what you want, is if people are clear about what they’re offering.

If you want to become a vice president of an organisation, you will be able to find a coach to work with someone specialising in your industry of choice, who can help you reach your goal. Just like ordering from Deliveroo and Uber, for example, we all know exactly what we want and we want it now.

Niching is so crucial

That is why niching is so, so crucial. But this runs super deep. I ran a workshop this week on niching. And I was so pleased that people who have been in their coaching business for 12+ years dialled in, and gained so much from the experience. 

Because it’s not just about your ‘I help’ statement, like “I help mums who want to get back into the workplace.”

There are so many other layers. So, your help statement is the first step, then we need to decide, is this a bleeding neck issue? Is this something that your client is going to have an urgent need to fix now, or is it a sprained ankle that they are just going to hobble along with without taking any immediate action?

And, whilst I would love to help you to create niches out of nothing, we really need someone to buy your offer. 

The best marketing expert in the world can’t make people buy unless there is a real, genuine problem out there that people want to solve. 

Mindset is key

Your mindset is also relevant here. People sometimes greatly misunderstand niching and business building, thinking they’ve got it all sorted.

I’m always speaking to people who tell me everything’s fine, they’ve sorted their niche and they’ve got a rough idea of their offer.

But, if it’s not working, and they’re not fully booked with clients, their niche isn’t good enough.

You need to be open to continuously refining your niche, making it better and stronger.

Every tiny nuance matters

We are in a competitive industry and every tiny nuance matters. 

Just like if you were writing a book – every full stop, every comma, every word makes a huge difference. 

And it’s the same when you’re talking – your tone of voice can have a big impact on how your message is received.

This is why I really want to stress that this is not simple stuff. There is nothing basic about marketing or business building, just like there is nothing basic about coaching. 

Someone can tell you exactly what questions to ask in a coaching session, but unless you use your skills to feel the conversation and ask them at the right time, and in the right way, your question is not going to land. 

It’s just the same with your niche. It’s about backing it up with your story and with real genuine market insights to prove that there’s a demand for your service. 

 

Building a strong, personal brand 

 

Back to your story and the challenges you’ve overcome. People don’t buy coaching. They buy the transformation they want, and the person that they want to help them to get there. 

So, let your authenticity shine through as that is your greatest differentiator in this marketplace. 

 

Executing effective marketing strategies 

 

You will need a fantastic website, a great LinkedIn profile, Instagram or Facebook page, or whatever else you are building your business with. 

I have just released my own new website, which is very exciting as it’s something I’ve wanted to do for four years, since always having had DIY websites. 

An amazing website, impressive branding, strong logos, all of these elements can hugely transform your business and, incredibly, I never realised that my own lovely sister’s design business can do all of this for you. It goes back to what I always say – make sure your family and friends know exactly what you do, so they can use you and recommend you!

It comes back to the niching

There are so many times clients have asked me to recommend someone to design a brochure for corporates, or whatever else they needed and, for some crazy reason, I’ve never thought to mention my sister because she hadn’t really mentioned specifically what she does, for me to register it in my brain and join the dots when people asked me if I knew anyone.

I googled her last week because I wanted to write social media posts about her building my new website, and I had no idea she had hundreds of 5-star reviews!

How can you help people like your friends and family, who are your biggest advocates, to recommend you? 

I’ll start – If you want an amazing personal brand at a really great price, I recommend my sister’s agency, Brandority. They can give you the whole brand package, including your logo, your website and all your social media profiles so they all match.

So, build your effective marketing strategy, first by starting with your online presence, and then by focusing on how you are connecting to people. 

Think of it as shallow and deep marketing

Most people stay at the shallow end, ie putting out social media posts, which is something, and people will see them and remember you for three seconds (!), but what we really want is deep nurture strategies that give people a chance to really get to know you. 

Content like a podcast, YouTube, TikTok, talks you could give, network events you could attend. Ways that you can help people to really get to know you.

Deep marketing is crucial because, to buy from you, people really need to know you, to like you and to trust you, or to be referred by someone who already knows, likes and trusts you.

What can you do to build that ‘know, like, trust’ today?

 

Client relationship and referral building 

 

Your entire business is built on relationships, so think about how you can give the best client experience.

People who have an amazing experience with you will give you a glowing testimonial, which will then send more people your way.

It all builds momentum but it has taken a long time and a lot of consistent effort to get to the point where I’m able to sell straight from my sales page, due to the deep nurture strategies I have in place where people can get to know me – I have my podcast, I run webinars, I host events. I share case studies that show the journey that I’ve helped to take them on. 

Don’t wait for perfect

Up until six months ago, I was selling from a word document. So don’t think you need to have everything perfect in order to get started. You don’t even need to have your website up and running straightaway in order to get started, although you’ll definitely need one in the long run. 

And a sales page may or may not be the right strategy for you. Everyone’s situation is different. 

Just put yourself out there and start reaching out and talking to people.

People can inquire, and you can have a conversation with them and follow up with a document. So don’t let ‘not being perfect’ stop you from taking action. 

 

Sales funnel and conversion techniques 

 

Understanding your sales funnel is crucial. 

How are you managing to build people from the bottom of the staircase, helping them take the tiny steps towards meeting you at the top? 

Most people don’t just leap to the top of the staircase. They might see you on social media for a while. After a while, they may sign up for your lead magnet if you have one set up – that’s something I cover in my Business of Coaching programme if you need help with that.

At some point down the line they might attend one of your free events where they get to know you a little bit more, then they may book a discovery call, before eventually signing up to work with you.

A perfect reminder of the need to be patient

The average buyer journey for coaching is often around six months. So, although you may get the rare exception who finds you, or is referred to you, and buys from you really quickly – excited to get started straight away, for most people it will be a slow burn as they build confidence in you.

Some people were in my world for more than two years, absorbing my content and attending my webinars, before they finally reached a point of deciding that I was the right person to help them, and that the time was now to take that step and sign up.

Everyone is different, so be patient and help them to build their trust in you. Be consistent with your content. Show up regularly and be a reliable, trustworthy source in their world.

If you had a friend that rocked up once and then you didn’t see them again for six months, you’d think they were a bit flaky. And that is what people could think of you if you pop up now and again but disappear for weeks or months at a time.

Being fully booked doesn’t happen overnight

And finally, remember that being fully booked doesn’t happen overnight. It takes persistence, resilience and a willingness to adapt. 

From being in this industry, I know there are a lot of people dipping their toe in rather than diving in, prepared to say they want to be an expert in this space and that they are committed to that process. 

So step into that identity of that person who is committed to their business. Be one of those top people saying, “I am an expert.” Use those words. Shift your identity because that’s what you’ll need to do.

All the factors I’ve detailed here, and who you choose to be, will have a massive impact on your business success.  

So be that person, and go out there and become fully booked. I am championing your success.

 

Prefer Audio? You can also listen to all my new content on my podcast Women in the Coaching Arena

 

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you grow your coaching business:

 

  1. Love coaching, but struggling to get clients? Download the 12 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Clients now.

 

  1. Interested to know more about the Business of Coaching programme? Click here.

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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.