You might think finding new clients is one of the biggest challenges faced by coaches and consultants. Maybe you’re like many people who actually give up their dream to be an independent coach or consultant because they don’t think they can handle prospecting for clients.
I can hear you now: “Prospecting? Salespeople do that, and I’m no salesperson!”
The ability to sell is more common than most of you might realize. It is rarely a totally new skill that you have to learn. More often, it is simply a matter of channeling your natural sales ability.
All of us have sold and do sell on a daily basis. You already have sales experience whether or not you’ve been in “sales.”
Maybe one or more of the following apply to you:
- Management is a matter of selling your people on why they should do what needs to be done.
- Being a parent requires constantly selling your children on the value of morals, ethics, responsibility, etc.
- Children are perhaps the most creative, successful salespeople in the world. They are constantly selling adults on why they should be allowed to go different places, do the things they want to do, and have the toys they want, stay out late, etc.
As a coach or consultant finding clients on your own, you are simply using this talent, this ability to communicate with others, to develop your own customer base.
Salespeople can’t sell unless they have someone whom they can “help buy.” Prospecting is simply having enough of the right people with whom you can have a focused conversation. Prospecting is the foundation of a successful coaching and consulting business.
There are plenty of formal ways to prospect for clients, but some of the most successful coaches and consultants I know don’t always “do” formal. We recently asked our network “What’s the craziest place you’ve met a new client?” Here are some of their replies:
- In the hot tub at our athletic club
- The golf course
- My daughter’s wedding dress fitting
- In an automotive service department stockroom amidst a pile of paperwork and brake pads
- At a trade show, but not out on the floor … in the men’s room while drying my hands
- In a blues bar in New Orleans … I asked if they were using the extra seat at their table
- In the ICU after my dad’s heart surgery. The cardiac surgeon became my client
- On the deck of a Canadian navy frigate during a port visit to San Diego
So, there’s no need to be formal all of the time. All you have to be is personable and willing to talk about your business everywhere you happen to be.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve started a new business relationship? We’d love to hear your story.