https://live.vcita.com/site/strengthenHi, I’m Andrea Urquhart. Welcome to The Specialist Studio, my bespoke business mentoring space for therapists and professional coaches growing their consultancy. Today’s article explores the importance of defining what you offer as a product or package, and the top tip: Stop trying to sell your “coaching” or “therapy”. Talk about the outcome instead.
Your coaching is not your product. It’s your tool.
If you’re a therapist or coach trying to win clients, do you really know what you’re selling? Most of us hate “sales” and have a fear of being “salesy”, so when we finally muster up the courage to try to sell our “coaching” or “therapy” and we’re met with a wall of silence, it’s quietly devastating.
After all that time studying, qualifying, being supervised, dreaming of helping people, now we’re ready to help the world but nobody wants our “coaching”.
But what if you finally had that lightbulb moment that coaching is not your product to sell?
Because it’s not. Therapy and coaching are simply tools. Therapeutic, talking solution tools.
Your product is the outcome that you help people achieve. That’s what they want to buy.
An experience that transforms their relationships or improves their workplace culture, heals their emotional wounds or brings them to a new place in how they show up in the world.
When you switch the conversation from discussing “coaching” to the actual solutions you enable your clients to achieve, that’s when people start listening.
The real sales mind shift coaches and therapists need
This is one of the biggest mind shifts new coaches need to win consistent clients and establish a profitable business. Stop trying to sell “coaching” or “therapy” and start selling the solutions you provide.
If you’re a therapist or coach, do you know what you’re actually selling to your clients and how to do this? Can you confidently talk about the results your clients experience when they work with ?
Heart centred therapists and coaches often find the transition to selling their services tricky to say the least. You don’t need to have in depth sales training, although some tips can help.
What you really need is clarity: The ability to talk clearly about the solutions you bring to your ideal client and the process you will take them through. This is not just preparing a glib elevator pitch, it’s about fluently adapting how you share your product so that whoever you are currently talking to will understand clearly who you help and what the outcome of that will be.
This is part of the powerful work I do with my clients in my Kickstart Your Consultancy programme. We focus on clarity, strategy, how to speak to your ideal clients and build momentum in your business. And this is one of the first mind shift lessons my clients learn:
Your client’s outcome is your product and the bundle of sessions or programme you use to get them there is your package. Your therapy or coaching is simply the tool or vehicle you skilfully use to bring your client to their outcome.
If you can’t talk clearly about your product, your packages and the tools you use, why should anyone invest in working with you and how will they know that you are the person who can help them?
Rest assured, it’s absolutely possible to work on this clarity, and as your confidence grows, you will find that you attract the people you really want to help.
What you need to know to sell your coaching or therapy packages.
To be able to talk clearly about your products and packages, you first need to know what your solution is and who it’s for. This is known as understanding your ideal client or “avatar”. It includes empathising with their pain points and knowing how to create products and describe your services as a solution to those pain points. If that’s a lot to get your head around, check out my article on defining your ideal client here.
I do a lot of work with my clients on this because it’s crucial to your whole business. You must understand the people you want to buy your services. In depth.
This will enable you to create the packages of support your ideal clients really need.
And that’s really what your products and packages are about; they are the piece of work you do with a client to solve a specific pain. Now that’s not unfamiliar territory to you.It’s simply calling that piece of work a product that feels like a big leap to many therapists and coaches.
Communicate your products as the specialist you are
I’ve been through this myself. When we train, we focus on developing our skill and our activity as coaches or therapists, supporting our clients through the therapeutic or coaching process. We develop as skilled technicians learning to use the tools and approaches of our trade.
Follow this metaphor through and think about mechanics. Do you search mechanic if you want an M.O.T. on your car or do you search M.O.T.? When your tyre bursts on a motorway, do search car mechanic or do you call your roadside support company? All of these problems are solved by skilled mechanics but what’s important to notice is that each has their specialism and you find them by searching for someone who solves the specific problem you have in that moment.
We make it far too complicated for ourselves if we’re trying to simply sell “coaching” or “therapy”.
You’ll recognise this scenario: You’re in a conversation, you’ve told someone you’re a therapist or coach now and before you know it, you’re trying to explain what therapy or coaching is, what your particular approach is and to persuade someone that the vehicle of coaching or therapy you offer is what they need. The trouble is, those conversations are about your tool, not your product. A bit like a mechanic geeking out on the specific ramp or wrench that they use when what you really want to know is how, when, where and at what price they will fix your burst tyre.
First explain that you can provide the solution your client needs. Your tools and process come later in the conversation.
Think about musicians. Is it more interesting to hear them talk about the quality of their violin bow an strings or to hear them actually play?
Remember, people buy products because products bring them specialist solutions.
Focusing on the solution focuses a conversation on the fact that you are equipped, qualified and passionate about helping and that you have just the right opportunity for them to resolve their dilemma, improve their life or solve their pain.
And most importantly, when you learn to have conversations like this, the people who really want your help and the specific solution you offer will come to you because you speak about what is on their heart. That saves you having a lot of conversations with people who don’t really even know if they want any change, any therapy or any coaching.
Far simpler for coaches and therapists, and much more relevant to clients than trying to simply sell sessions, is to start with what you’re really offering. The transformation. The solution. The journey. What is it you really deliver to your clients via your coaching?
How to package your coaching or therapy into a product that people will buy
You may have an aversion to direct, cold call sales. So do I. But I don’t have an aversion to learning about opportunities that could make a difference to me, especially when I’m looking for them. For us as therapists and coaches, this is about sharing opportunities, offering clear solutions and building a personal brand that has authenticity and consistency.
Once you’ve done the work on how to “package” what you do, you are then able to talk clearly about it in person, in your content and in your social media copy. Even more importantly, people are able to clearly understand and see what working with you involves.
The old “Book 6 sessions with me” might become “Join my VIP one-to-one 6 session Move Past Your Fears programme”. When you read that, which tells you more? They are essentially the same opportunity, it’s just that one description tells anyone who sees it much more about what working with you entails and will produce. They will know that in 6 personalised sessions they will be working with you on leaving their fears behind. They will also assume that you know how to help them do this.
The question of niche is also important here. Many coaches and therapists struggle with creating packages because they are trained to help people with so many different things. In our mission-led, heart-centredness we want to help as many people as we can and find it counter-intuitive to niche. But niching and providing fewer packages that offer more value is precisely what will give you and others greater clarity about your business and what it means to work with you. It will also give you greater specialist experience which in turn can boost you as an expert. You can read more about why it’s important to niche in your consultancy here.
What to consider before defining your therapy or coaching product
Whilst there is certainly some branding skill involved in sharing your services as packages, it’s not rocket-science. Branding gives much clearer opportunities and offers more clarity on expectations for your potential clients. You simply need to take some time to think about the journey you take people through and the outcomes you bring them to.
Don’t be afraid to offer a realistic length programme or set of sessions. After all, you are the expert. Similarly, think about what you can offer in a single session. Single session offers can be very powerful, especially when recorded and focused on a defined result. They don’t mean that the client can’t have any further sessions, but they will help your client up a step. Find out more about creating your single session offer in my mini masterclass article.
If you’re growing your own consultancy, what is crucial is that you move from a mindset of having a scarcity of clients and saying yes to anyone to one that sets a clear requirement to enter your therapy or coaching space. Are they ready? This is a really important question. Their state of readiness will determine the amount of progress they make.
It’s also an important factor to have in mind when you create your products or packages. What state of readiness should a person ideally be in to get the most out of your package and let’s be practical about this, to be willing to buy into your services without you expending your time and energy on a huge amount of persuasion and sales work?
The other question you need to ask is are you the person who can lead them to the solution they are ready for? That, right there, your confidence in your ability as a coach is the real issue that needs tackling to help you “sell” your services.
It’s not about whether you’re good or not in sales. It’s all about whether or not you know who you can help, how you help them and what you’re offering them. When you know that, then your next step is to be able to clearly communicate this to them with confidence.
What if you are not confident yet about offering solutions as a coach or therapist?
If you are not confident that you can ensure that your clients make specific progress then recognise the stage you’re at. If it’s a personal confidence issue, then I work on that with my clients. Sometimes we simply aren’t ready yet and we need to develop our professional skills and confidence. If that’s you, recognise where you are in your professional journey.
Alternatively, you may not be playing to your strengths, or perhaps need more training in the area you want to specialise in. There is nothing wrong with this. We all go through a process of gaining confidence in our practice. Usually, our products increase as specialist offers as we increase our own professional development. But if you’re not ready to niche or create products, then don’t.
You might also be more of a general practitioner type coach or therapist. Again, there is nothing wrong with this, but you are more likely then, to get your consistent work as an associate or employee for an organisation. You will find it much harder to get all the work you need for a viable private consultancy as a general coach or therapist. Working for others, you will still find yourself niching to a certain extent but will usually be restricted to working with other people’s formats or approaches. This might suit you, and if it does, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
However, if you want to be your own boss and develop your private consultancy, then niching is unavoidable to create a profitable business and establish yourself as an expert who people turn to.
How to confidently create your specialist therapy or coaching package
When you really think about it, a product is about the outcome or experience. If I pay a tour guide to show me round a historic venue, I am investing in that guide, but the product I am buying is a tour. When I appoint a graphic designer to create my logo, I am investing in their skills but I am purchasing a logo. Every time I reach out to a therapist or coach for support, I am investing in their support because I trust them, but I am also buying a specific outcome from a specialist.
Package your offer as a specialist. Don’t make your product too broad. I often find that deep inside, what most perturbs coaches and therapists about packaging their outcomes has nothing to do with sales and everything to do with their confidence in their own expertise or specialism. Read that again. Do you see yourself there?
I see confidence flourishing in the professionals I mentor because the work we do initially enables them to truly appreciate what they actually do know and have to give. When they can communicate this clearly, they feel stronger and more established as a professional. Promoting their services then becomes a natural expression of this rather than something they are shy of.
Packaging your services does not mean that you promise a 100% result for someone. That would be unreasonable. What you promise is progress in a specific area for a person with a specific need and who is ready to make that progress. Progress is what you are trained to support.
How to create your coaching or therapy package or product description
Firstly, don’t create too many products – too much choice can be counter-productive. If you offer tailor made packages, then market them as that or bespoke packages, but still give them a name that covers the general type of package you are offering.
Here are the elements you need:
1) Decide exactly (ideal client work!) who this is for
2) How much time does your client need for your package?
Think not only about the amount of sessions, but how close together than should be and how long they will be.
3) What pain point are you solving with your product.
4) What moment of need is the person at and what might their journey so far have been?
5) What tool are you using to solve the product?
Define which approach or approaches you will use. This is important if you are creating a bundle that includes, for example, different types of sessions. Are you mixing group and individual sessions, or are you offering a specific therapy session as part of the overall package?
6) What solution are you bringing them to?
Use this to help you name your product.
7) A name that clearly shows an outcome.
Avoid fancy, obscure names. The name needs to clearly relate to the product and the simpler and clearer it is, the better for search engine optimisation too. That means that people will remember it and find it when they are searching for it.
Here’s an example:
If you’re a therapist, you might create a 6week programme focussing on improving relationships. You would define who it is for, which relationships would improve and how long the sessions would be as well as how regularly. This could be:
Improving intimacy with your partner: A 6week VIP 1:1 programme with weekly 50minute sessions.
If you’re a couples’ therapist, you might brand something like this:
Deepening intimacy with your partner: A 6 week, 10session VIP programme for you and your partner including six 1hr joint sessions and 2 individual 60minute sessions for each partner.
If you look at this latest example, you will see that rather than leaving it to the client to say at the end of each session if they would like more, you would use your professional judgement, experience and expertise to create the ideal therapy package for getting the optimum results assuming that both partners in the couple are at a point to engage in the process.
Think about all that you’ve learnt about supporting your ideal clients. Think about their journeys and how you can bring them through to the best possible outcome.
Many of my clients work integratively, they have more than one qualification and may use different coaching or therapeutic approaches within a package. If you work like this, you are likely to have trained in different approaches so that you can cover the whole journey your client is on rather than just a part of it. If this is you, then think about the different stages of your clients’ therapeutic journey and create a journey of packages from a first step product to a next step product and so on.
Although creating your products and packages requires reflection and care, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it might sound. You have your expertise. This is a part of sharing it with others.
I hope you’ve found this article useful and that you understand now that your coaching in itself is not your product! If you’d like more in depth support, then do reach out and book a call with me. You can also join my e-community for a regular (I promise I don’t spam you!) update from The Specialist Studio, encouragement and special offers.
Connect with me today if you’d like to know more about how you can grow a flourishing coaching or therapeutic consultancy. I work with therapists and professionals growing their own specialist consultancy and expert status. You can work with me on my signature programme 1:1 or in groups of up to 4 coaches. I also offer monthly mentoring options. Typically, my clients gain clients whilst still completing the programme along with gaining clarity, confidence and a big satisfied smile on their face!
Business Mentor & Coach for Specialist Coaches
Andrea is a full member of the Association of Business Mentors. With professional experience as a teacher and Positive Psychology Coach, she enables mature therapists and coaches transitioning from academia or professional backgrounds to establish and grow a flourishing coaching consultancy.
She’s known for her ability to enable her clients to gain clarity, confidence and clients; growing momentum in their business.
Andrea is based in West Sussex, UK and works primarily online with clients. Her signature programme, Kickstart Your Coaching Consultancy is 10weeks long and available in a small group or 1:1 option.