How to Discover What Matters to Coaching Clients
Here’s a question for you: what matters to coaching clients? I mean really matters–deep down in their bones?
Getting inside the mind of your ideal clients is one of the most important things you can do as a business coach. After all, understanding client wants and aspirations is vital to helping you communicate the value of the services you provide. Do it right, and it’ll pay huge dividends. Do it wrong, and you’ll struggle to connect with prospects and clients alike.
And to be clear: I’m not talking about brief sketches. This is about drilling down to specifics and having a list of concrete hot button issues that enable you to communicate with clients and prospects at an emotional and intrinsic level.
As you understand your clients’ hot button issues, you can use it to develop great content, marketing messages, and engaging pitches which will resonate and convert. You’ll also be able to zero in on exactly what your clients want to accomplish with coaching, so that you can prioritize your efforts. The result will be more sales, better results, longer-lasting contracts, and increased referrals.
So where do you start? As you begin to drill down into your ideal clients’ psychology, explore three main categories: wants, aspirations, and fears.
What Do Your Clients Want?
Wants are short- and medium-term desires that will make a noticeable impact on your clients’ bottom line or quality of life. They want a sales team that runs smoothly and generates plenty of leads. They want a customer service system that wows their customers and turns them into raving fans. They want to cut the cost of production but maintain standards. They want to spend less time in the office and more time enjoying themselves. The more you know about the immediate needs of your clients, the better you’ll be able to make an impact fast and demonstrate your value on the spot.
What Do Your Clients Aspire To?
Aspirations are bigger picture dreams and desires–the why behind your clients’ business. What do they hope to accomplish within the wider frame of the world or their lives? Do they aspire to sell and go live on a sun-drenched island somewhere? Do they aspire to give large sums of money to a certain cause or charity? Do they aspire to prove the doubters and nay-sayers in their life wrong? The better you understand your clients’ aspirations, the more effectively you’ll be able to connect emotionally with them and paint a picture for how life could be if they do business with you.
What Do Your Clients Fear?
Finally, drill down into what your clients are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? Is it employee problems? Poor cash flow? Are they afraid of being embarrassed in front of their community, of failing, of going out of business? Here’s a key point: we tend to try to avoid pain more than we want to attract pleasure. When you’re able to uncover your clients’ fears, you can motivate them to take the steps that will make those fears evaporate.
Do Some Digging to Find What Matters to Coaching Clients
So, how do you discover your clients’ wants, aspirations, and fears? A good place to start is with clients who value your expertise already. Because you have a good rapport with them, you can ask them questions that will help you see the world from their point of view.
But what if you don’t have anyone who immediately springs to mind? Maybe you’re a new coach, or you’re hoping to break into a new market. It turns out people love talking about themselves: a little research in your local area should uncover potential subjects you can contact.
One of my coach clients, Laurie, wanted to break into the restaurant industry. So she contacted several restaurant owners personally to see if she could interview them. Laurie discovered they were only too happy to talk–and it gave her the information she needed to create messaging and coaching strategies around their important hot buttons.
My suggestion is to dig until you can comfortably identify the top seven fears and top three wants and aspirations that your clients and prospects have. This will give you the foundation to start working on solutions that matter to your clients. Get it right and you’ll find more clients coming to your door and your reputation growing leaps and bounds. For more great tips like these for improving your business coaching results, check out Secrets of a Business Coaching Rock Star by Eric Dombach.