How to sell coaching or other abstract services

January 4, 2017

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Why is coaching so difficult to sell to people? Well one of the big problems is that coaching is an abstract concept. Whether it’s life coaching, health coaching, business coaching, or executive coaching, the practice of coaching is difficult to explain and lacks tangible benefits.


In this episode of The Speaking for Profit Podcast, I spend a few minutes talking about how to properly sell coaching to a prospective client.

Click the player below to listen to the whole episode or simply scroll down for highlights on how to sell coaching.



In the show highlight below, I talk to Cindy Ashton about how selling coaching is like selling happiness.  To do it correctly, you need to concentrate not on the happiness itself, but what the happiness can bring your prospective client in terms of money, time, health and relationships.


Cindy:  And I think this is a great time to talk about your thought of the day Jason because it really involves one of the big issues in speaking to sell, which is describing the benefits of the product or service you’re selling.


Jason: That’s right Cindy, and there are certain things that are easier to sell than others. For instance, you can describe the benefits of a hammer, or a car, but what if what you are selling is a little more abstract?


Cindy: Something like coaching for instance?


Jason: Exactly. Now of course there are different kinds of coaches. Business or marketing coaches are pretty straightforward – you know what you’re getting. But what if your service involves transforming people, or improving performance, or improving happiness?
There are many things that people say they want, but aren’t willing to pay for. Happiness is one of them. We all want to be happy, but it’s very difficult to get someone to buy anything at a substantial price by simply telling them it will make them happier.


As a rule of thumb, there are four benefits that people are in the habit of paying for. Money, time, health and relationships.


Notice that happiness is not a selling point. Happiness is something that everyone thinks they want, but few people actually buy. And this is key, because when you’re a coach and you’re speaking to sell, you don’t just want people to agree with you – you want them to buy something at a significant price point.


Recently, one of my clients gave me a test. She said, ” How would you sell a program designed to make people happier with their lives?”


So I came up with something like this.…


“Are you tired of wasting your precious time being miserable and not enjoying life? How many months or years have you lost… just existing… not really living?

I want you to really think for a moment about how much it costs you when you don’t have your life together. What has it cost you in terms of your career and your earning power? How much has it cost you in terms of your personal health? How much has it cost you in your relationships with the people you love… or the people you could have loved?”


Cindy: Wow. Where do I sign up?


Jason: Notice how framing the happiness question around these other benefits makes them more powerful?


There’s lots more to enjoy in this show. Click the player below to listen to the entire episode.