How to Stand Out in a Competitive Market

Let’s talk about the fascinating concept of market sophistication and its relevance to the coaching industry.
Why is it relevant? Because the market is shifting massively.
I’m going to break it down for you and help you to identify:
  • Where your particular coaching niche may fall within the different levels of market sophistication.
  • How that may impact your business.
  • What you need to do to gain traction and really grow your client base.
Specifically, I’ll give you advice on how you can navigate this increasingly competitive market and stand out from the crowd.
What do we mean by market sophistication?
It’s all about the level of knowledge, awareness and sophistication of the target market within a particular industry.
So, in the coaching industry, it’s about understanding how clients perceive and engage with coaching services.
Market sophistication levels are different for each niche so you need to know where your target market’s level of awareness may be and, therefore, what approach you need to take to capture and engage their interest.
There are five levels of market sophistication which we’re going to explore here.
First level of market sophistication: Being the first in the market.
Imagine being that trailblazer. The one introducing that unique coaching service that captures the needs of the market. It gives you a significant advantage in showcasing the value and benefits that you offer.
Think about when Hoover started out. Before they had to compete against Dyson and Henry etc they didn’t have to try that hard. They didn’t have to come up with exciting frills like boosters and cordless power. People were just grateful to have a vacuum cleaner.
Being the trailblazer is an easy win but it doesn’t last for long!
Second level of market sophistication: What is this?
At this stage, the competition is starting to warm up with other people doing the same or similar work as you, which means that people are comparing you and your offer with others.
To thrive in this environment, your services need to be more targeted, better, stronger, faster.
This means you have to continuously refine your offering to ensure that it precisely meets the needs of your target market.
By understanding your clients’ pain points, desires, and aspirations, you can deliver tailored experiences and stand out from the competition.
When the rest of the competition is staying at surface level, you’re going deep.
You know these people intimately because you have done your market research.
This market validation process is invaluable for you in terms of actually gaining real conversations with your clients – real words that they actually use. This research gives you deep level content that will resonate in your marketing and products and services, differentiating you from the competition who aren’t holding market research calls.
Third level of market sophistication: How does this work?
At this stage, the increase in competition is now crowding the market.
The goal here is to highlight your new, unique, highly targeted mechanisms to solve problems. It is essential to develop specialised methodologies, tools and techniques. Things that you can do to differentiate yourself by offering innovative solutions that other coaches may not provide.
This uniqueness becomes a powerful factor in attracting clients who are looking for personalised and effective coaching experiences.
They are no longer interested in the generic training courses, they want personalised support to reach their goals.
This is why, for example, even my group programme is highly personalised. It combines both one-to-one and group sessions, and provides detailed personal feedback because that is something that you really can’t find in the marketplace.
There are masses of group programmes out there, but there are very few people giving real targeted, personalised strategies to coaches. So, this is how I am differentiating myself from the competition.
Another way I stood out from the competition was when I launched the Rise Career Academy a few years ago. The R stood for ‘Rewire’ which was something that really captivated people who liked the sound of ‘rewiring their brain’. Many people approached me wanting that package, having been attracted by that different approach.
When you turn your ideas into your own intellectual property, it can really help you to stand out.
Fourth level of market sophistication: Fierce competition
Now, things are really hotting up and we have a mature and crowded market.
In this kind of environment, you will want to switch up your marketing angles, and remind the market why you are the best option for them.
It calls for a seriously strategic approach, highlighting your unique selling points.
You will want to showcase success stories, demonstrating the distinct benefits and outcomes that your clients can expect. You will want to leverage testimonials to build trust and credibility.
And you’ll want to differentiate yourself by highlighting what sets you apart from your competitors, and illustrating why potential clients should choose you as their coach.
We’ve all seen this when we’re looking at signing up for an online course or a website hosting platform. They use tick box columns to make comparisons easy and at a glance in a really busy market.
Niching is another way of standing out. If, for example, you’re a career coach then, several years ago, just saying that might have been enough.
But, now, there are a lot of career coaches out there so you need to find your own unique and interesting identity to draw people to you. You need to market your services in a really unique, interesting way. The more you do this, the more you will gain clients and really build your expertise in the career coaching industry.
Fifth level of market sophistication: New experiences
Coaching is at a high level of market sophistication. It’s now time to create new and entirely different experiences, and really focus on your brand.
Whilst your coaching service itself is, of course, important, it is equally essential to go beyond that and start connecting with clients on a deeper level.
This means not just sharing your life story, but it also means understanding and communicating your values, beliefs and aspirations so that your clients understand what you are all about and whether their values and beliefs are aligned with yours.
This will help you to gain a sense of emotional connection with your ideal clients and focus on the why behind your coaching service.
For example, I interviewed a wonderful coach, Chloe Myers. She has launched her book ‘Work Hard, Rest Hard, Play Hard’ which is available to buy on Amazon now.
When I was interviewing her, I was really focusing on why she wanted to write this book. Why did she choose now to launch it? Why did she want to have this impact on people? We care about why she cares.
And that’s what we’re focusing on here. We’re aiming for a real, authentic, deep brand story. Values that align with your ideal clients, building their trust in you and your brand and why this matters to you.
The focus on the ‘why’ behind your coaching service will strengthen your brand identity, and help you to stand out as a coach who truly understands and supports your clients.
Where does your particular coaching niche fall into these five levels of sophistication?
It’s a lot of food for thought!
And it doesn’t stand still, either. It’s an ongoing process as the market is shifting and changing and evolving all the time.
We need to keep on our toes, constantly keep studying. Keep getting better at marketing and sales.
It used to be about selling a product, now it’s about selling a lifestyle. Demonstrating how the product will change your life – the happy ever after.
Ultimately, by creating new experiences aligned with your beliefs, you can build a strong brand that resonates deeply and attracts the clients who need your expertise the most and who will want to work with you.
Get the love and support you need to make it happen
If you’d like my help to implement this so you make a difference, AND make a living, you can learn more about how I can help you 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.