Coaching gives you a chance to get out there and transform the lives of others but if you’re really serious about turning your coaching skills into a coaching business, you’ll need clients to work with.
One of the key ways many coaches can find coaching clients is via networking. Networking isn’t about going to an event and handing out your business card to every person in sight, it’s about meeting others and building solid relationships, and with studies showing those who network to be three times more influential than those who don’t, investing time into networking is a no brainer.
If you want to build a thriving coaching business, below are 6 ways to get the most out of networking:
- Connect with the right people
Social media and sites such as Meetup and Event bright have made it easier than ever to instantly get a list of up-coming networking events and online communities that you can join which can put you face to face with the right people. Making a list of local networking events which are filled with your ‘ideal clients’ in your chosen niche and showing up is a great way for you to connect with the right people who need what you offer.
2. Don’t sell
Your primary purpose for attending a networking event shouldn’t be to ‘sell’ it should be to build relationships. Focus on adding value to others and think about how you may be helpful to them – don’t approach networking with a mind-set of what you can get, instead focus on what you can give. The most successful networkers are those who walk in to a room with an intention of paying it forward and seeing who they can assist.
3. Perfect your pitch
We often have a short window of time to make an impact. Making what you do as clear and as easy to understand as possible, is the best way for you to capture someone’s interest. An elevator pitch is a short and punchy 60 second pitch that focuses on the benefit you’re offering and the problem you solve. Avoiding the use of jargon, using language that your ideal prospect will understand and practising your pitch until it feels like it’s being stated in a natural way is the best way to capture someone’s interest, without turning them off.
- Be Curious
A good coach is no stranger to asking the right questions and the power of listening skills, so choosing to ask questions and listen & engage with people at networking events should feel like second nature. People tend to like people who are like themselves so asking interesting questions and getting to know others is not only a great way to build rapport it also provides you with the opportunity to a) get an idea of the needs of others b) understand how you may be able to help them and c) get an insight into what it may be like to coach them. The more you shift your focus onto others the easier it can become to build positive relationships.
- Capture data
Handing someone your business card and hoping they will get in touch won’t guarantee they will. Capturing someone’s details, making a note of the conversation you had and recording it on a spread sheet or folder is a great way to ensure that you keep track of their details and allows you to build a relationship with them down the road. It is also worth keeping in mind that meeting someone at an event and automatically adding them to your emailing list without their permission is bad form so don’t fall into that trap, ask them if they would be interested instead of assuming. Investing your time and efforts into networking without keeping hold of the details of others can be a waste of your time and energy, even if you’re unable to help them at this stage or they are unable to help you, you never know when you may need their services or when you may want to connect them to others, so don’t rule them out completely.
- Stay in touch
There’s nothing worse than meeting someone at a networking event, building rapport and never speaking to them ever again especially if you want to get clients for your business. Most coaching clients want to work with someone they can trust and this means that some may want to build a relationship with you which extends beyond an initial 10-minute encounter. Sending them an email after meeting them and showing interest by occasionally checking in with them or going for a coffee helps them to establish trust and refreshes their memory to either consider using your services or recommending them to others.
Networking is a time tested way of building relationships. When you are building a coaching business, the more people you meet that could benefit from your services, the more likely you are to have potential coaching clients. Coaching is a people business and people buy from people.