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If life coaching were sold like shoes, would you be more likely to buy it?

One problem that I continue to grapple with is how to sell my services to potential clients. I take solace in know it’s a common issue among my fellow coaches. While I don’t for a moment question that coaching is effective, I’m four years into building my practice, and I’m quite frankly not much better at making the pitch than I was when I started.

I think the primary hurdle is that coaching is so much more nebulous than many other services and products that are available. It’s understandable that when people pay for something, they want to know what they are getting in exchange.

For example, let’s say you are shopping for a pair of shoes. There’s a concrete product that you can try on and see if it fits. You know what you are getting in the transaction and can quickly decide if it is worth it. If you choose to the purchase the shoes, you don’t have to put in any effort into getting value out of the shoes other than putting them on your feet.

The value of life coaching is more difficult to define and measure. There are few guarantees. In fact, coaches certified with the International Coach Federation are prohibited from making promises of specific outcomes and achievements.

I can’t guarantee that someone will find a new career within 60 days or lose 10 pounds by summer or achieve any number of the things people hire me to accomplish. I can promise that if they show up for their sessions, they take actions they say they will, and they are engaged and ready to change, the client will in fact change. I don’t know where they will end up, but it won’t be where they started.

In my experience, clients often discover things about themselves that they weren’t expecting and take action on goals they didn’t think they could. They get value they couldn’t have predicted when they signed up for coaching.

Not to be smug, but, as far as I know, shoes typically don’t create added value for the customer once they leave the store. A new pair of shoes has never improved a challenging relationship in my life or help me get focused on my long-term goals. Just sayin’.

All this considered, how does one go about making a sales pitch? If the services and results vary from person and to person and the end value can’t be determined from the start, what is the right way to explain to clients why they should hire me? (This isn’t rhetorical...I’m actually asking. Email your answers HERE.)

I have used testimonials in the past, so potential clients can see what others have accomplished through coaching, but coaching clients are like snowflakes. They each have unique challenges and unique desires. One client’s journey isn’t a roadmap for another’s.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained. For your consideration, here’s my big sales pitch for hiring me as your life coach:

I have something of great value to offer, and yet I can’t tell you what it is exactly, but I know you’ll grow and learn from it. You’ll get out as much as you put into it, and wherever you started will be different from where you end up. Guaranteed!

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