How To Set Up A Successful NLP Coaching Business. Become The No 1 Coach In Your Niche!
Many of my clients go on to run successful, profitable NLP coaching businesses. The journey is often longer and harder than they originally anticipate, however if they’re prepared to put in the work, they are almost always delighted with the end result. This marketing checklist is a useful guide to the questions that you need to answer in your business planning.
There is a low cost to entry compared to setting up many businesses, therefore the competition is extremely high, and the number of really good coaching clients limited. However, when you’re able to answer these marketing and sales questions you will be in a strong position to succeed.
Starting a profitable NLP Coaching Business
A key challenge with these questions is that when you change the answer to one, you may want to change the answer to the others. I therefore suggest when you start you write out working answers, expecting that they’ll change as you progress. You may not choose to use all your answers, but decide that after you’ve answered all the questions.
- Who are you customers/clients? (Please note that in this post I use the term client and customer interchangeably?)
- What is a top level description of what you do?
- How do your clients benefit? What value does your NLP coaching business offer them?
- What is your brand position?
- What is your approach to pricing?
- How do you attract clients? / reach them? / What do you say first?
- How do your clients buy? What is your sales process?
- What daily activities will you commit to to attract and maintain clients?
- How do you qualify-out the clients you don’t want to work with?
- What can they actually buy from your NLP coaching business?
- How do you check the value you’ve offered?
- Are you interested in repeat sales? If so, what do you offer?
1) Who are your customers / clients?
Start with the smallest viable market. Be number 1 in your niche. Marketing to everyone doesn’t work as a practical approach, it would cost too much. Who are the clients you’ll find it easiest to sell to? Who are the customers who will get the best value from what you do? Who are the clients you want to work with? Be specific.
2) What is a top level description of what you do?
In the fewest words possible: What do you do? You can always expand it later. For example: I help ambitious professionals achieve success and fulfilment.
3) How do your clients benefit? What value does your NLP coaching business offer them?
How specifically do your target clients benefit? What value do they receive from what you offer? Note that the best way to determine the potential value you offer is to take your clients through a value elicitation process, such as the one that follows.
- What is the client’s current situation?
- What problems are associated with the current situation? What are the implications and related costs of these problems? How will the implications and costs, if not addressed, increase with time?
- What are benefits of what you are proposing? What is the impact of these benefits over time?
Note: The value you’re offering is the difference between the benefits over time, and the potential problem cost over time, less the costs of the programme.
There is a similar question structure that works very well for case studies and for when you need to present to a new prospect a case where you’ve helped a previous client achieve.
- What was the original situation? What were the problems and implications of those problems? What would be the implication over time if the problems weren’t solved?
- What were your objectives?
- What did you actually do?
- What were the results?
- What do these results mean over time? What will the client be able to do now, that they wouldn’t have been able to do before your intervention?
4) What is your brand position?
Your NLP coaching business’s brand position is important as it will enable you attract the clients you really want. Building a brand requires both effort and time, it is therefore useful that you decide both your starting brand position, and where you would like to end up.
Possible options include:
- Commodity coach. Advantage: you have a large market to aim at. Disadvantage: you’re always under price pressure and have a lot of competition.
- Service niche coach. For example you specialise in clients in a particular sector. This is a smaller market but with less competition than above.
- Your name. Advantage: you’re immediately offering a more niche service. Disadvantage: initially you have to do more marketing.
- A unique name. You choose a name that only has a soft relationship with what you do, e.g. Tesla for cars, Apple for computers. Advantage: you create a brand from scratch. Disadvantage, it takes longer.
By the way, in 1) and 2) the key words in your brand are coach or specialist coach, in 2) and 3) your name is featured more than what you do.
5) What is your approach to pricing?
This relates to your brand, and is important as it will impact what you can charge. Possible options include:
- Free. This can be useful where you get a real benefit from the experience.
- By time. The advantage is that it’s understood by most people, but may restrict your earning ability.
- By value. You need to establish the value you’re offering and a measurement process.
- By brand. You need to develop your brand.
6) How do you attract clients / reach them? / What do you say first?
There are four main approaches to attract clients:
- Hunting – traditional selling, albeit using new technology. This still works very well for some, and the skills are useful for all of us.
- Attraction via new media. Attraction is based on creating great content, and promoting it in a way that it will be seen by our target market.
- Nurturing relationships and networking. Developing a great relationship with a few, important key buyers and influencers.
- Paying for outsourcing aspects of sales and marketing. This ranges from paying a commission, paying a salary, outsourcing a part of sales and marketing, and advertising.
In my experience, they all require time and energy, it’s best to focus on what works for your market and what works for you personally.
Curiously what you actually say first isn’t important, however you MUST know what you say first, in order to smoothly lead your clients through to what comes next.
7) How do your customers buy? What is your sales process?
Many clients have a fairly random buying process, however it’s worth while checking what are some of the steps they go through when they buy a service like the one you offer, and the typical buying criteria they use.
Decide on your own sales process, which ideally matches aspects of how your customers buy.
8) What daily activities will you commit to, to attract and maintain clients?
Whether it’s making a number of calls a day, writing a number of pieces of content a week, attending various meetings; what are the key actions you’re going to take every day to ensure your NLP coaching business always has a pipeline of great clients?
9) How do you qualify-out the clients you don’t want to work with?
Good clients improve quickly, recommend us, pay on time, are fun to work with, and we learn a lot. Bad clients often don’t improve, don’t recommend us, don’t pay, are really hard work and often we don’t learn much.
How do you qualify-out the people you don’t want to work with? Contracting with the right clients is the most important factor in developing a successful and profitable coaching business.
We may also coach individuals to give back to society, just make it a conscious choice.
11) What can your customers actually buy from your NLP coaching business?
What are you offering that your clients can buy from you? Are you able to explain what you offer in a simple, straightforward way? Are you offering face-to-face coaching? 1:1 online coaching? Group online coaching and/or coaching products? What is the typical life time value of your clients? (This important in that it helps you decide what you can invest in customer acquisitions).
12) How do you check the value you’ve offered?
At the end of each programme what do you do to check what value your client has achieved from your programme? Debrief? Case Study? Ask for a testimonial? All can be useful.
13) Are you interested in repeat sales? If so what do you offer?
Are you interested in repeat business for existing clients? If so, what do you offer? Refresher courses? Taking it further courses? Something different?
Starting a new NLP coaching business from scratch may take longer than you initially imagine, 2-3 years is typical. Set a realistic time-frame and ensure you have the cash flow to support you through this process. I’ve always suggested that there are three keys to developing a successful NLP coaching business:
- attract clients, which this post is about,
- invest in your health and resilience, and
- develop your coaching skills on an ongoing basis.
The first point may be the most critical.
If you already have a number of clients, it may take a lot less time to get established, however it may still take more time than you initially think to attract more clients. If you attract them quickly, celebrate!
We offer prospective coaching and training clients 3 ‘no charge’ Skype/Zoom/Google Meet discovery sessions, so you can make your own decision as to how well it will work, before you go ahead with a programme.
Setting Up a profitable NLP Coaching Business – RECOMMENDED Resources
Want to to know more about NLP? See our homepage: What is NLP?