You don’t need to be qualified with a string of coaching certifications to start your coaching business, however, if you want to attract and enrol premium clients, you do need to be able to showcase your expertise and credibility!
Positioning yourself as the credible expert is vital if you’re ever going to stand out from the crowd and rise above the noise on Social Media
This is something so many coaches struggle with, but once you get this nailed, it’s game-changing!
In this article, I’ve highlighted key actionable strategies and techniques to help you showcase your credibility and position yourself as the expert you are, regardless of whether you’re a veteran online entrepreneur or you’re just starting out.
I’m not sharing anything that I haven’t implemented in my own online coaching business over the past 7-8 years so these are all tried and tested by yours truly!
Don’t resist being super specific! Getting yourself known for that special thing you do and who you do it for is critical in the early days of your coaching business journey (once you’re more established you can begin to extend your services if applicable).
It may seem counter intuitive to narrow your market. Especially in those early days, when it’s likely that you’re not charging very much for your services and you need lots of clients to make ends meet!
However, the truth is that the more specialist and niche you are, the more you’ll attract the right clients, those who see your value and need your specialism to solve their problem. Plus the more specialist you are, the more you can charge! People love to pay premium for your specialist knowledge!
The way to make this easier is to ensure that what you specialise in, is also what you’re passionate about. Don’t make the mistake of trying to shoe-horn yourself into a niche just because you perceive it to be ‘profitable’.
If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing then it’s going to be very difficult to follow through on all the strategies below this one with any level of energy, enthusiasm, and commitment.
“Passion in the genesis of genius”
When you’re passionate and aligned with your specialist niche, and you’re clear on your ideal client, you ignite what feels like a superpower. You literally unlock new levels of creativity, resourcefulness, and receptivity to ideas and opportunities and you feel like you can move mountains!
In 2015 I established myself as an online Sales Coach for Coaches, my background was in Corporate sales. My speciality that helps my clients to sell effectively is my ability to dial into my clients story and help them find alignment with their passionate niche.
I was very quickly dubbed the “Niche Whisperer” by my clients and my business sky-rocketed as I received regular referrals and recommendations, all from Social Media, as people got to know me for what I did, and reached out when they needed help to clarify their Niche and ideal client.
If you’re unclear about your niche, or who your ideal client is, then please feel free to access my free 5-part video series called “Shine Your Light” (you can open in a new link to download it here: “Shine Your Light” ) which will help you get this really nailed down.
Is there congruence in your profile description and your branding across your various platforms?
As you’re showing up and sharing your stuff, folks will ‘check you out’ especially if they resonate with your content. Your people want to know more about you and they’ll also be looking to see that the person behind the content matches up with the message being shared, even on an unconscious level. This all builds greater trust and connection.
Ensure that your profiles across all your Social media platforms align and reflect a consistent message and also consider what your personal Facebook profile is reflecting about you. Would you want your prospective dream client to see your drunk photos or potty-mouth posts? Maybe, maybe not, there’s no judgment. Profanity may be a part of your brand, think Katrina Ruth or Gary V.
In essence, be congruent and authentic and consider your profile from the perspective of your prospective clients so you don’t risk undermining your credibility.
Ever heard of The familiarity principle? It’s the tendency we humans have of developing a preference for things (be they people, products, ideas, etc.) the more we’re exposed to them.
So, how does this apply to you?
Well, as you show up consistently with great quality content, consistency in your messaging, and you’re positioned correctly where your ideal clients ‘hang out’ you’ll become a familiar face in the crowd.
At first, your people notice you, then they start taking notice of you and then they start following you.
Don’t be disheartened by a lack of engagement either. You’re not in this business for the vanity metrics. Have faitih, and trust your people are watching. Your ideal clients are dealing with their own issues, and don’t want the world to know that your post resonates with them so they’re not likely to comment on your content.
What matters is that you push through your hang-ups and continue to show up no matter what it looks like on the outside. As one of my clients says here, she was a “stalker”!
I stalked Sanae for about 6 months after seeing one of her posts that completely resonated with how I was feeling. However, I wasn’t ready to put my hand up for help at that stage, I thought there must be a way for me to sort this out myself (as most of us do!) All I can say is that if I’d worked with Sanae sooner I would have fast tracked my progress”
Karita Beard: Empowerment Coach
My clients are so surprised when they get messages from prospects who become paying clients saying they’ve been “following them” or “stalking their content” for months. This makes me laugh as I say to them “Why are you surprised? You did the same to me before you reached out and hired me!”
Perhaps one of your biggest challenges right now is coming up with high-quality content on a consistent basis.
If that’s the case then take a few minutes to watch my quick training on how you can create a robust content strategy that delivers real value, leverages your expertise, and stops you wasting time wondering what to talk about every day!
How to create a robust and relevant content strategy: https://youtu.be/5dYqdF-oCCo
Many coaches worry about being repetitive and so waste energy and lose time trying to constantly come up with new creative content. The reality is that repetition of your core message in your content is critical for positioning your expertise and building your credibility.
Repetition builds trust as people get to know you for what you do and as such, you build your reputation.
Not to mention, Social Media news feeds move so fast so there’ll always be new eyeballs on your stuff (and your die-hard followers will hear what they need to hear when they need to hear it!)
How might specific times of year impact or trigger negative emotions in your ideal clients?
How can you add value during those times? For example, if you’re a health coach, how might you help your audience navigate the excesses of Christmas or Thanksgiving? Or does Valentine’s day trigger your lonely hearts if you’re a Dating Coach?
Offering seasonally relevant content for your ideal clients is very powerful for leveraging your credibility and your expertise and is an opportunity to get published and featured in publications that your target market read.
For example, the 3rd Monday in January is known as Blue Monday here in the UK. Among several reasons this day got its name, is the fact that it’s the day that people start receiving their credit card bills from their Christmas shopping sprees and they feel guilty, depressed, and anxious about how much debt they’re in.
I wrote a book about how I overcame my toxic relationship with debt and a big part of my work now is supporting entrepreneurs to empower themselves around money and to free themselves from debt.
So I make it a point to speak about it, write articles addressing this issue and comment on other posts around this time of year to share my personal experience with debt.
Following on from this I was invited to speak on Sharing the Vibe Podcast and also invited to speak as a guest expert in some other communities for Coaches on the topic of money mindset.
Check out my book here and my FREE “Get Debt Free” 5 day course to kick-start your debt free journey.
5.Describe your ideal clients’ pain in your posts
When you can describe your ideal clients’ pain better than they can, you automatically stand out as a credible expert with the solution.
Think about it. Haven’t you ever searched good old “Dr Google” to find out about some “unusual’ physical symptoms you’ve experiencing? You land on an article that describes your symptoms plus a few more that you weren’t aware of, but now that you’re reading about, you’re feeling them…!
So, what do you do?
You keep reading!
You keep reading, seeking answers, and assuming that the author knows the solution on account of their accuracy in describing your symptoms!
It’s the same with YOUR content. When you’re super clear on your ideal client and their pains and frustrations, your content will take on a whole new resonance. See next point
6.Expert Positioning Post Framework: Problem, Pain, Prescribe
This is an amazing framework that helps you craft a post or a blog that leverages your expertise. Not only are you connecting to your ideal client emotionally, as you’re describing the problem and all the symptoms of the problem but you’re also adding value by offering a solution i.e the prescription.
Here’s the basic structure:
Problem: Define the problem that your ideal client is struggling with i.e “Are you struggling to get paying clients? It’s fair to say you know your power and how you can help others, yet you’re struggling to “sell” your services because you’re fearful of coming off as pushy and sleazy”
Pain: Paint the picture of how this problem is affecting her life i.e How it’s impacting her life, her health, and well-being, her relationships, her career, her confidence, and her self-esteem. i.e “Every morning you wake up with a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach. It’s been weeks since you signed a client and you’ve no idea where the next bit of cash is coming from. Whenever your spouse asks you what you’ve been doing all day, you get defensive and wind up arguing because you feel like he’s not supporting your dreams. You feel isolated because your loved ones just don’t “get it” You’re starting to feel like an imposter…”
Prescribe: Offer some nuggets of wisdom that will help her solve this problem. i.e “Here are my top 5 tips to magnetise your dream clients and close more sales…”
7.Get Comfortable on Video and Live-stream
Show what you know!! You’re the expert so show up and BE the expert!!
Leveraging the power of video and live-stream to teach!
I have never had to do any cold outreach, (which I hate) because my ideal clients reach out to me. Through consistent visibility, sharing wisdom, and teaching, on video I’m constantly positioning myself as an expert in my niche and my ideal clients reach out to me.
I know that doing videos and live-streaming may fill you with horror, it certainly did me in the early days!! I tried everything to help me feel more ease around it such as EFT, hypnosis, NLP techniques, and the good old JFDI strategy!
In the end, my business was at the ‘do or die’ stage! I needed to show up, and I needed to show up large and in charge, or else I’d be looking for a “proper” job, which was so far from what I wanted.
I guarantee that once you push through the fear and start sharing value via video and live-stream you’ll soon see the positive impact on your influence and your income. Video enables people to connect with you and your energy, much faster than any other medium.
Another key point, that I cannot emphasise enough (in fact this is a game-changer), is the importance of your mindset and your energy when it comes to putting your stuff ‘out there’.
This was a hugely rewarding shift in focus for me personally. When I was having a tough time and I was feeling desperate for cash I created blogs and vlogs from a place of ‘what will this get me?’
The focus of all my activities was on getting clients and as a result, my energy was ‘off’. I felt rudderless with no sense of direction and flow. I became attached to the outcome and so when nothing happened (which was inevitable considering my ‘off’ energy) I became even more desperate and needy. A self-perpetuating downward spiral.
Once I transferred my attention to giving value and contribution, everything shifted. I felt back on purpose and my confidence and self-worth were fuelled by my belief that my message was seen and heard by whoever needed to see and hear it.
Ironically, this focus shift resulted in more inquiries from prospective clients because they were connecting with my authenticity, my energy, and my enthusiasm.
So, focus on contributing and giving and you will not only feel amazing and up-lifted, but you will also evoke the law of reciprocity.
8.Guest Expert Opportunities
Reach out to relevant podcasts and offer yourself up for guest expert interviews. Also contact hosts/admins of Facebook groups who share the same audience and offer to do a guest expert interview or masterclass into that group. Avoid stepping on any toes by ensuring the group hosts’ services complement what you offer, rather than clashes with.
I’ve been able to help so many more clients who found me through my free masterclasses and guest expert interviews in other hosted groups.
I was invited to be interviewed on the Sharing the Vibe Podcast on the topic of money matters last year after I published my debt story. The podcast was so much fun and I noticed a spike in sales of my book after that.
9.Get featured and published
Write expert positioning articles of value and submit them to publications that are relevant to your target market.
Articles that share how you navigated and overcame a challenge with key lessons learned are always popular.
I’m no expert in ‘How to get featured and published” but what I do know is that I let the fear of not being good enough, hold my back from even trying for years!
The moment I thought “oh what the hell!” and I sent off an article – it got published as a feature article!
Gather a list of the relevant publications that you know your audience is reading and write to them! Most of them have a “Contact the Editor” link. Make sure you follow the specific instructions and write a separate article for each publication.
Then you have the joy of embedding the logos of your featured publications on your website and on your social media to add weight to your credibility!
We Brits are never very good at tooting our own horns but this is something you just need to get over because sharing client wins and success stories are extremely powerful for your credibility in the eyes of your prospects. Your clients are doing the talking for you.
Brand new to your coaching business? The workaround is to offer free coaching in exchange for testimonials. Share the love!
Side Note: I always take a screenshot of all my client messages of success and thank you’s, as well as the formal testimonials, and store them in my smile-file. You might have down days when things feel tough and it’s easy to slip down the rabbit hole of wondering “What’s the point?” Trust me, when you’re having one of those moments? Just flick through your smile-file and you’ll soon be brought back to yourself again as you remember “Ah, this is the point”.
11.Collaborate with Other Experts
You can offer your services to another coaches’ group programme, course, or even to their 1-2-1 clients. As an example, a business coach might outsource to a branding expert to help her 1-2-1 clients with their business branding or to share a brand training to her group clients.
One of my clients coaches corporate women to improve their confidence and executive presence in the boardroom. She partnered with a personal brand stylist and their collaboration was profitable and increased their reach too.
Whether you offer to collaborate for a fixed fee or commission-based, or even if you run some free training sessions within another paid community, you are still raising your visibility and your credibility.
I have various guest experts for my group coaching clients and their masterclasses enhance my clients’ experience and many of my clients will go on to hire them for their particular expertise.
I was the Sales Expert Coach in the 7-Figure Marketing and Business strategist, Luisa Zhou’s Employee to Entrepreneur Program which enrolls over 200 students each year. Being associated with Luisa and a part of her team of specialists leverages my credibility and I reach more people and receive referrals from people I may not have otherwise reached.
The key here is to build strong relationships and connections that you nurture. Most of my collaborations have come as a result of either coaching them or being coached by them and as a result, a strong bond and rapport have been formed over time.
A final word
I hope you found this helpful and you’re feeling inspired to take some action to get yourself out there loud and proud!!
I will just add, you’ve got to want to win at this online game with every fibre of your being because while the rules are simple and there’s a low bar for entry, it’s NOT easy!!
It takes guts to show up and it takes perseverance and persistence to push through the tough times, the doubts, and the fear.
Make a decision right now that you’re gonna really go for it and don’t ever quit. This is how your success is guaranteed.
Be authentic and share your knowledge, skills, and wisdom in the best way for you. Find your groove, your strength, and play to that.
You’re in this for the long game and forcing yourself to be someone or something you’re not, because you think that’s how you’ll succeed, is exhausting and unsustainable.
People love, and are craving, real and authentic humanity and integrity, and what you put out into the world, is always reflected back to you.
Thank you for reading!
If you’re ready to accelerate your coaching business success and take your impact and income to new heights then book a call with me today and let’s discuss how I can help you make your coaching business dreams a reality: Book A Strategy Call with Sanae