Teresia LaRocque, MCC, is Canada’s first Master Certified Coach and co-founder of ICF Vancouver. Over the past 20 years, she has been a key player in developing the coaching industry in Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada.
What do you call the people you coach? Most of us call them our clients. But as we move between the roles of coach and entrepreneur, we must be willing to shift our language and mindset accordingly. You are a coach, but you are also a business owner.
From a business perspective, you have customers, not clients.
Customers will help you grow your business.
A customer is someone who:
All three elements must be present. A customer purchases your products and services and sends you new business. Your customers are your raving fans. If only the first element exists, you have a scholarship client. Working with this type of client is not a business decision. It is a contribution decision. If the first and second elements exist, then you have a sale. Sales are good. They pay the bills. But sales don’t grow your practice. Customers do.
Customers are those people that not only appreciate what you do for them, but they rave about it to other people just like them – i.e. other people who may buy your services at a profit and refer other customers. These are the people you can build your practice with.
How do you turn clients into customers?
It’s simple. Ask them who they know that might benefit from your services. Referrals are the most powerful selling tool we have as coaches. People like to do business with people they know. Few things are more reassuring than a positive endorsement from someone you know and trust.
Whenever a client compliments you, respond with a thank you, quickly followed by a referral request. For example, “I’m so pleased you’re happy with my work. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from working with me?” The best time to turn a client into a customer is when you are the catalyst of their empowered state. Every time you have a breakthrough with a client, or they experience a success as a result of your coaching relationship, ask them who they know who would want to have that experience too. This is the fastest and most effective way to expand your practice. When you develop a consistent system for generating referrals you are on the path to building a huge network of customers and a truly profitable business.
Originally Posted on International Coach Federation Blog.