How to Build a Solid Client-Attracting Marketing Funnel for Your Coaching Business

Jul 30th, 2011 | By | Category: !Step-by-Step Instructions & Action-Steps Checklists!, Coaching/Mentoring Success Strategies, Latest Instructional Articles, Videos, ...

How to Build a Solid Client-Attracting Marketing Funnel for Your Coaching Business

Do you have an effective marketing funnel for your coaching business?  Do you have an effective strategy to transform your website visitors into life-long clients?

I met some really great coaches in the past, some that started their careers the right way and started making a great living right away… while I also met many coaches and wanna’be coaches who were trying really hard but were too unfocused [some are still waiting for the universe to send them clients; and some already gone back to work in the 9 to 5 grinder].  Most of the less successful coaches had no plan in place: no Marketing – or Client-Attraction Funnel developed and applied.

I’d love to say that I was in the first category and I was marketing my coaching business the smart way right from the beginning, but then I’d be lying.  I got certified through IPEC coaching in the summer of ’03 and that year I had two clients (one of which stayed with me for years).

Through participating in “How to Get Clients” type teleclasses and reading books on the topic, soon I learned that I had to think of myself FIRST AS A MARKETER and then a coach.  If people do not know what you are doing, then no one can hire you.

Chance are, there are thousands of people out there who need your service, but they don’t know about you…

Here are a few tips to start generating more clients:

#1: Be visible
Networked as often as feasible and tell everyone about your coaching business (yes, you should know you elevator pitch/es inside out)… encouraged everyone you speak to to let their friends, coworkers, family members, etc. know about your services.  Always carry professional looking business cards with you (with an irresistible offer on the back of the card, that can be downloaded on your website in exchange for their contact info)
BUT… before you tell them about your coaching… Always START YOUR CONVERSATIONS with questions that will let you find out what the other person does and what are some of their challenges.  If they are talkative, let them talk.. and you listen (!).  Listen to Steven Covey’s advice “Seek first to understand, then [to sell your service]”

2. Be good at what you do!
Get trained and keep on practicing your skills.  If you don’t have paid clients, volunteer to coach clients of non-profit organizations, or simply offer your coaching during your networking.  Try NOT to coach friends and family – that can sometimes backfire!!!
Each time you get a non-paying client, see if they can barter with you: maybe they can write you some articles, cut your grass, do some web design… find something that they can do for you, that way they don’t feel like they are taking advantage of you, and you feel like you are getting something for your efforts (of course, you are already getting a chance to practice your skills and collect testimonials, but still, it feels good to get “paid.”)

If you are good, they’ll most likely refer you to others who might need your services.
!!! Never assume you’ll get referrals !!! Always ask!  …or course, not in the first week, but definitely after a month or two of service…
a) ask for referrals at least once or twice a month
b) offer a referral fee ($250 or more], when the new client stays with you for at least 90-days; or $25 [or more] off their coaching fee, for as long as the new client remains a client…  Use your imagination on how to encourage referrals
c) Never over do it!  Send your client a flyer that invites others to hire you as their coach (the flyer should be well-designed and benefit-driven); simply ask your client to share that flyer with his/her contacts (contact me to get a sample of some of my flyers).

3. Pick a niche and become viewed as an expert in it!
As long as you try to serve everyone, you’ll get some coaching clients… or you get none; but as soon as you specialize, you’ll start getting known as the guy [or guyette] who can “really understands my pain and can help,” as now you are viewed as the “doctor” for that niche’s “ailments.”

4. Provide the perception of professionalism and of great value during your coaching sessions.  Use the tools that you learned about in your training, such as the life-wheel, values-assessment, etc.; and the tools that you learned about from colleagues, books, additional training, etc.
I use an assessment called DiSC 2.0 with most of my relationship development or life-balance coaching clients OR the DiSC PPSS  or ED Sales with all of my business clients.  See a sample of these assessments at
If you want to use these assessments with your clients, let me know (I can also set you up as a re-seller, if you have business clients, or otherwise believe you could sell more of these assessments)

5 Steps to Building Your Client-Attracting Marketing Funnel

Now… I hope you didn’t run away to implement the 4 above steps… and you are still here reading…

Even before you start shooting for visibility and getting really good in your niche area, you need to develop a simple marketing plan… or simply put a Client-Attraction Funnel

1. Decide who can you help… lose weight, earn more, eat healthier, get fit, age gracefully, improve productivity, improve relationship, improve public speaking skills, write first book, etc.  Pick ONE – an area that you are really good at, would enjoy coaching clients, AND where the clients are most likely able to pay your fees
(I have coach colleagues and friends who have a passion for coaching low-income people who look for a job; I even know someone who enjoys coaching homeless people, and another great coach who loves to coach inmates… these are all noble “niches,” but they cannot pay you – you need a niche where the client is able to pay you)

2. If you are an executive coach, contact organizations and offer them your services.  It is usually the HR manager who’d be able to hire you as a coach for employees who need help with Conflict Management, Leadership Development, Productivity, etc.; though speaking directly to the manager is not a bad idea either, as the manager is always a potential client for you, as well as they might see value in hiring you for some of their employees.
You can visit companies in person, call them, or purchase lists of your niche-market’s HR Managers

2b. Contact these decision makers and introduce yourself and your services!
Ask to speak to them for 10 minutes, and stick to your 10-minutes.
Word your description of your services through benefit statements “I help busy managers accomplish more and reduce their stress levels.” Or “I help employees become more productive and become great team-players.”
Word your descriptions based on what will the client benefit from your relationship.

3. Now, if point 2b above worked for you, super great (and it does work in about 20 out of 100 calls/in-person contact attempts); however, regardless whether you got the person you talked to as a client or not, you still want that person on your list and working on developing a relationship with him or her.  So, here’s how you can do that…
a) Decide how you’ll get the decision makers of these organizations into your funnel.
– Send them postcards – funny ones if possible, or have some valuable info on them that will make the prospect keep them
b) Have an irresistible offer on your marketing material that will prompt the prospect to run to your website and share their contact info in exchange for your offer. The KEY is to make this first offer REALLY IRRESISTABLE, so you get your prospects info into the funnel…
c) Once you have them in the funnel – that is, you have the prospect on your list – educate your prospect on the topic that you know they are interested in – which, of course, is your niche topic.  For example, in your email to them, you’d say something like “Visit and view /read the’7 Steps to Eliminating Workplace Bullying,” video course / article / eBook / eCourse/ white paper, etc. or some other hot topic that you know your niche needs.

!!! – the irresistible offer should prompt the prospect to get to his/her computer and download that offer that you sent… and in doing so, they’ll share their contact info: their name and email address – and this is when you can yell “BINGO!!! We’re in business!”  Well…, the business might come down the road, if you follow the “system,” but for now this is a great victory.  The KEY is to grow a LARGE, NICHED database of people who are interested in your area of coaching/expertise*.

* – when I say “expertise,” I mean the area of coaching that you are passionate about… and hopefully you’ll write articles about that passion area, publish videos, develop products, etc. that will create the perception of you being the expert in your niche (Read my article entitled “How to Position Yourself as an Expert,” at , originally written for speakers, but most of the tips work for you too, especially if you are conducting workshops for your clients (or to gain clients)

4. Keep in touch with your prospects by sending more valuable info bi-weekly, weekly, or even more often if you believe your topic is so hot.
If you use videos – or even in your articles – try to give your material a humorous – or at least, entertaining – edge.  It has been proven that most people will watch a video from the beginning till the end (or read an article in its entirety) whenever there’s an element of entertainment.  The key, though, is to keep on sending valuable info, educating the prospect on your niche topic, letting them see that you are the go-to-person in that niche…
In your messages, always provide a link to your site and past articles/videos as well.

! Always focus your message on WIIFM – what’s in it for them – VS. “This is how great I am”…  They’ll know how great you are, once they see you know your stuff…

5. Once you developed a relationship with your prospects now you can start sending offers of your products and services.  You’d still keep sending some great valuable info, but at the bottom of each of your value-loaded info, you’d put a blurb on your coaching services or a product – both of which would, of course, be in line with what they need.  Make sure that the titles of your programs and products clearly “speak to” the pain/need your prospect is most likely experiencing.

* – I found that coaching programs with a time-limit increase my response-rate.  For example titles such as “90-Days to Higher Productivity,” or “45-Days to Becoming a Pro at Conflict Management & Prevention,” etc. get me more clients than when I promote “Become More Productive,” or “Conflict Management & Prevention” coaching.
Of course, you can have 2 or more coaching sessions per week in these programs – or just one – it’s up to you and your client… or how you designed your program to work.
What I noticed, though, is that when client perceives the presence of a definite process with a beginning and an end, they are more likely to hire you (of course, a certain percentage of these clients will opt to continue the coaching relationship… even if a company paid for the initial package)

** – if you are not an executive coach, you can still gain clients by contacting organizations.  Managers and employees alike might need your services.  You can offer workshops – or group coaching services – for the employees…
To attract more clients – if you are not an executive coach – make sure to read my article that I mentioned above on How to Position Yourself as an Expert, as well as grow an opt-in list of prospects and keep in touch with them (Keep an eye out for my upcoming articles on “The Top 10 Strategies to Grow an Opt-In List”, “7 Ways to Generate an Income from Your Opt-In Contacts”, and “Become a Client Magnet – 21 Client Attracting Strategies”)

If you consistently apply the above 5 points, it is impossible not to build a great speaking career.  It all depends how much time you are willing to put in, how you use your networking efforts and contacts to get in touch with meeting planners… and as importantly HOW able are you to stay focused on consistently working this 5-step system.

*** once you get to speak – even when you speak for free – MAKE SURE TO ALWAYS VIDEO RECORD YOUR PRESENTATIONS!!!! You’ll be able later down the road to create a demo video that you can send out to Speakers’ Bureaus – another great source for speaking gigs – a source that takes little effort, yet once they pick you up, some bureaus can keep you busy throughout the year…  The only catch is, Speakers Bureaus usually do not promote speakers till they get some experience under their belt.  But it is all up to you: you can gain experience and be a Speakers Bureaus’ darling five years down the road… or slack off and dream about it…

I’d say, “Go Get ‘Em Tiger!”  Stay focused and build your coaching career till it provides the fruits you really know you deserve…
(and don’t let the thought that tigers don’t like fruits stop you 🙂  )

Marketing Funnel

The Coaching Client-Attraction Marketing Funnel

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10 Comments to “How to Build a Solid Client-Attracting Marketing Funnel for Your Coaching Business”

  1. Nice article. I’ll have to copy paste it so that I can review all the steps as I go along. Thank you!


  2. Thanks Janet – I’m glad you found it useful!

    Let me know in a few months how you implemented all this good stuff 🙂

  3. Thanks for all the fantastic information! I, too, will need to print out this wonderful funnel for marketing!! I realize now that I have to think of myself as a marketer first and coach second. Wow! That will be a big change!

  4. Doug Durham says:

    Hello E. G. I am a wellness coach. I find coaches are people people not business people. That is why marketing is so difficult, right? My passion is to get people to the realization of why they are really here are earth. I believe that is spiritual wellness, (made to worship) but we must first get the body and mind in shape so we can have a Godly focus on wellness.
    I thank you for all that you write. It is really a lot of good information. I am currently working on my funnel I am about to finish a class with Tony Husted and Erickson college. I would appreciate your comments on my blog as well.
    I am trying to start writing from a more personal view point as opposed to a wellness educator only. That is difficult since I am an RN.

    God Bless, Doug

  5. Thanks for your comments, Doug!

    And, yes, you are so right – coaches are the most wonderful people in the universe, but often marketing does not come “naturally” to them. I’ve been a business owner for years prior to becoming a coach, as well as I was a business major in college… nevertheless, marketing my coaching practice was far from easy, and spent lots of time and $$$s on learning how to market my practice… Take time to explore my articles – I tried to share some of the marketing and client-attraction wisdom i acquired during my coaching journey…

  6. Dave Kobelin says:

    Outstanding article. Just “Evernoted” it to review and implement. Appreciate all of the effort you have put in to help others succeed!


  7. Dave…. be ready that I’ll be checkin’ up on you in 45-days to see how you are progressing in implementing these tips 🙂

  8. Very useful, action filled and thorough post here – thanks for the motivation!

  9. Michael says:

    I think the advice about listening when networking is invaluable. You can then adapt your elevator pitch to suit the person you are talking to. Don’t just stick to one elevator pitch, have a library of pitches, so you can take the correct one off the shelf.

  10. Just like a plumber – if someone complains that they have a leaky faucet, they won’t give their spill on how great they are at fixing a broken toilet, right? He’s still a plumber, but addapts his spill based on need. I believe that’s how we coaches have to be too; AS LONG as we stay in integrity – and ideally within niche – and don’t take on clients with problems that are well beyond our heads. For example, if you promote yourself as a relationship coach, and at a networking event someone says “I really need some help with my marketing,” you wouldn’t pull out a marketing elevator pitch 🙂 . Unless, of course, you are a marketing whiz.

    Fact is, some clients say they want “coaching,” but what they really asking for is “mentoring.” A client needs help with internet marketing, nutrition, fitness, etc. – I don’t think a “generalist” life coach should take such clients on, but rather someone who niches/specializes in that area…

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