Only today I read again that the average annual turnover of a business coach in 2012 was 41,025.17 Euros (2008: 22,974.39 Euros) and the average hourly rate of a business coach was 181.99 Euros (2008: 139.95 Euros)! (Source: coaching-report.de) The majority of coaches are female, as hrm.at writes. Something that does not surprise me at the moment. Especially when you are in the online business, you see a lot of women offering coaching or consulting in different forms, because it simply has a lot of advantages if you consider the work environment (workplace, work duration, division, feel-good factor etc.). What surprises me, however, is an apparent big gap in the earnings. I wonder whether businesswomen who offer coaching, for example, actually earn an average of €182 per hour? According to my MONEYflow survey NO. A resounding no. What is the reason? Is it because of the services? Most coaches or consultants provide services.
The special thing about services
When I think about it, I notice that most products in online business are intangible goods, i.e. services, and there are some special features:
The typical characteristic of a service is the simultaneity of production, or provision and consumption. This means that the moment services are provided, their consumption takes place. For example, a haircut at the hairdresser’s or journeys on public transport.
How can services be marketed?
The author Thomas Scheuer of the book “Marketing for service providers” writes: “.services are invisible and therefore cannot be evaluated during the purchase decision process. Therefore, customers look for other indicators to evaluate the offer (according to Parasuraman/Berry/Zeithaml) such as 1. the visible environment: premises, equipment; appearance of the employees, 2. the reliability: smoothness, reliability, adherence to delivery dates, 3. the responsiveness: readiness for action, short reaction time, 4. the performance competence: credibility and image, appearance and politeness of the employees or 5. the empathy: understanding customers and their needs, availability.”.
But what if you have no employees at all? But is active as a sole trader? And exclusively online?
Products of all kinds can be tested, touched or perceived with the senses in a different way. Since this does not work with services, the building of trust is always preached. It is not without reason that services are also called trust-based goods.
When selling services, non-existent sensory impressions are the biggest problem! (Source)
Building trust is therefore a success factor. Basically the entire emotional world! Emotions, then. Trust is something you feel.
Emotions market services much more successfully
We have often read that emotions have a great influence on thinking and acting. According to the professor of medicine R. Plutchik, eight basic emotions are distinguished, namely: joy, sadness, trust, distrust, fear, anger, uncertainty, certainty. By mixing and combining these eight basic emotions, he believes that more complex emotions can be created, as with colour mixing. The findings of brain research on buying behaviour also confirm this.
Accordingly, the conscious and rational customer is an illusion. Purchase decisions are firstly made largely unconsciously and secondly are always emotional.
How to successfully market your services online
The first impression counts! I am sure that this principle applies especially to the ONLINE WElT! The flood of information is increasing more and more. In order to sort out, our brain carries out an unconsciously running sorting out and we only perceive “consciously” what fits into our “search filter”. The following results support this thesis:
Triggering emotions remotely is extremely difficult.
We now know that 94% of visitors to a website leave it after the second click. Tests with test persons have shown that 90% of these terminations are based on emotional barriers. Reasons for emotional terminations are mostly
the lack of content-related conformity to expectations! You quickly get the feeling that the site does not offer the right product or the right solution for the existing problem.
the lack of trust! The site owner does not manage to convey the necessary credibility and thus create a basis of trust.
the missing emotional activation! Although the products/services shown are the right ones, there is no buying impulse.
Apparently, “it may be easier to sell the proverbial wicked mother-in-law than a service. After all, the mother-in-law can be examined before “buying” and with good will, one will also find one or the other good side to her.” (source)
For the website and your appearance in social media
Make it clear immediately what the website is about and what problem you are solving! This will help you to prevent a lack of content-related conformity to expectations. And that in the upper third! Few people want to scroll. Do you have a simple but concise sentence?
Introduce yourself! You prevent the lack of trust by writing an excellent “about me” page. The “about me” page is not one of the most read pages on a blog for nothing, we want to know who is behind it… what the history of this person is… what qualifications he has… what he has achieved… what others say about him… how he himself tackled the problem… how he writes… how he comes across in the pictures. We just want to get a first impression! Make an effort when writing your “about me” page, because most of the time there is no second chance for a first impression. Our dear colleague Sandra Berger is organizing a free “about me” challenge. Register there and optimize your page.
You prevent the lack of emotional activation by setting the triggers that your target group likes by knowing the target group. From brain research we know that every person acts and decides from very specific systems. Some strive for security, stability and order. Others strive for control, status, prestige or for variety, cutting the cord or reward. Accordingly, there are, for example, words – the so-called “Magic Words”, which underline the written or spoken word as MESSAGE. You can find a list of “magic words” here.
Our homepage is our business card on the net.
There we try to present ourselves in the best possible way, so that the potential client can get an idea of us, so that he/she can take advantage of our offer.
That is why we usually describe all our trainings, preferred methods and special fields in which we are particularly competent.
In this way we try to convince the client of our qualifications.
But is this alone what makes the potential client choose you as his coach?
Are the points listed above what distinguishes us from the competition?
I don’t think so.
Apart from the competence of a coach, he is actually looking for plausible solutions and ways of doing things that give him the confidence and security that his problem is understood.
He is looking for a trustworthy partner who speaks his language and accompanies him on the way to solving his problem.
I am of the opinion that people buy solutions much easier than a coaching or a consultation.
This can be illustrated quite well with the following examples:
Someone who would like to make a career change, or would like to climb the career ladder further up, is looking for a solution as to how he or she can achieve this. To do so, he needs the support of a career coach.
Someone who is in a phase of major overload is looking for a solution to reduce his stress and prevent burnout. A Burnout Coach helps him in this process.
Someone who is dissatisfied with his life, i.e. who would like to change something to be happier, is looking for a solution for this and needs an appropriate companion. This is what a lifecoach or life consultant offers.
Therefore it is easier to show a solution for a specific problem than to sell a coaching
What’s that supposed to mean?
Try to draw attention to yourself and your coaching with your individual solution methods and experience.
In order to offer solutions, we put ourselves in the position of our potential client, i.e. those who are looking for solutions. For this we ask ourselves the following questions, for example:
Which problem(s) does my ideal client have?
What does my ideal client want?
HOW do I support him to solve the problem or to get what he wants?
This form of brainstorming and inner communication enables us to really imagine our “ideal” client and makes our role more vivid.
You will become even more aware of why YOU are perfectly suited to support the ideal client on his way.
Above all, you will easily be able to describe your offered solution in such convincing words that your desired clients will find themselves in your description.
The result will be that you will realize that you are the right contact person for the problem and that a cooperation is the logical consequence.
What can your client expect?
Now that you have formulated what solutions your target group is looking for, you can tailor your offer even more precisely to these people.
To give the client an idea of how much time a coaching session will take, the approximate number of coaching hours at a certain price is often described.
Finally, the coachee usually asks himself how long it takes to solve his specific problem.
Probably it will come up in the first conversation:
How long does it take to get rid of the ongoing stress and finally switch off again?
Your answer will probably be
That depends on…
Each person is individual, differently motivated and disciplined.
A good example is the driving licence. One is a natural talent and ready to pass the test after only 25 hours of driving, while others need twice as much time to find their way around in traffic.
Unfortunately, the answer “It depends” is often not very satisfying for the client.
Try not to sell as your coaching that takes about “x” hours, but if possible draw the way and the steps needed to reach your goal.
It will soon become clear that the individuality of the client is very important and that one client will need 8, the other 20 hours.
A concrete solution
“From burnout-prone to laid-back supervisor in just three months”
gives the potential client a clear idea of when and how he can realistically achieve his goal.
As mentioned above, the intensity of the steps to be taken during these three months depends on the individual factors. But now the coachee has a concrete clue.
This will help you not only in preliminary talks, but also in the presentation on your own homepage.
Of course every coach, mentor and life consultant works differently.
This is a good thing, because every client and every target group is individual.
In highly developed societies, the individualisation process is particularly important, which is expressed in the fact that the individual wishes to be addressed and accompanied according to his or her needs.
This opens up enormous opportunities for the above-mentioned individual services, which are tailored to this.
Therefore it is important to formulate your own coaching offer in concrete terms.
What is your special approach to “selling” your coaching?