Spending all your time searching for prospects and crafting sales messages can be disheartening if they don’t ever help you sign new clients.

But before you give up on the process, maybe it’s time for you to rethink the way you go about interacting with prospects.

We have compiled a list of the 5 most common ways coaches mess up in the initial stages of signing clients. 

1.You haven’t identified a targeted enough niche or core client

Making sure you have identified the right audience is a critical part of signing clients. You can have the best sales pitch, and send out thousands of emails- but if you’re speaking to the wrong people you’re not going to sign clients.

Many coaches fear they are limiting themselves when they pick a core client. However, the reality is that if you are too broad in who you serve no one will be interested because of the second mistake coaches make…

2. Messaging is generic and doesn’t grab interest

If your audience group is vague, then your messaging will be vague too. A client isn’t going to be intrigued by messaging that could apply to anyone. Make sure you highlight specific issues that you address, and specific skills that allow you to be the best person to address them. Use the language of the industry you are targeting.

Which of these is more powerful to a contractor?

“I help businesses grow and increase profits”

“I help contractors increase profit by £300,000 in 6 months by reducing snagging list errors and delivery projects on time and on budget. 

Sometimes, while trying to be concise, coaches forget to mention important details like why they are the best option available, or how they work specifically. Clients need to see a clear path from A to Z – they want to know the steps they need to take to receive the value the proposal promises.

Distinguish yourself from others in the industry by researching each client to learn what they really need. Then customize and personalize your messages and proposals based on those needs. Address pain points you see them struggling with, and clearly state why and how you can help.

3. Too pushy

You can’t bombard people with sales pitches and marketing material and then expect them to trust you as a coach.

Before you start selling your services, start building trust with your audience and show them you can provide real value.

Once you have their attention, you can then start discussing the next steps towards a coaching relationship and moving towards signing them as clients.

4. Not pushy enough

Don’t just have discussions and leave it at that. Once you have a conversation going you need to mention booking in a 15-minute introductory call or a strategy session (a sales call to you).

Don’t overwhelm your audience with sales pitches, but a nudge in the right direction is definitely needed.

5. You dont position yourself correctly on the Sales call

A reason why many coaches can’t sign clients after the sales call is that they haven’t been clear on exactly what they do or created a good enough reason or incentive for their clients to accept their offer.

First, you have to actually dig for the problems the prospect is really facing and the pain it is causing. Then (if you are a good fit to help) you have to be able to express to others what you do in a clear way that is understandable to them.  Potential clients should clearly be able to realise their pain point and see that you are the best solution to solve it. 

A big mistake that many coaches make is they try and sell coaching rather than selling the after results- the pain point being rid off. You should make this very clear in your messaging, eg:

Instead of saying;  “If you would like help or to work with me reach out”

Say instead: “If you want to increase your profits by £50,000 next quarter reach out”

IMPORTANT: Notice I didn’t say “If you want “help” to increase your…” 

No one wants to work with you, they want to achieve the outcome, not the coaching.

Always focus on showcasing the value of what you actually do for people. When people don’t understand the true value (pain relievers & gain creators) – aka the BENEFITS and RESULTS – you provide, it’s very easy for the consumer to think ‘This is too expensive!’ and walk away.


Clients want to sign with people who have their best interest at heart and who can really help them overcome whatever is holding them back.

Find the balance between being a salesperson and being a coach, and you’ll be golden. Always keep in mind how you can serve the prospect, not how you can serve yourself. 

Zander Woodford-Smith

Founder Business Coach Academy, Co-Author International Best Seller "Better Business, Better Life, Better World. Coaching Tools used by over 20,000 people.

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