How do you become a financial coach? Step 1 is knowing your “why” – your purpose. Step 2 is setting up the back office. Step 3 is learning coaching techniques and creating programs. So now that everything is in place, what’s missing? CLIENTS. And that’s Step 4 of the process – sales and marketing. Here is the latest installment of my series on how to become a certified Financial Coach and my experiences at the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link). Let’s talk sales and marketing.
But I hate sales!
I’ve learned the hard way that products and services, no matter how wonderful, don’t sell themselves. I’m still trying to find the magic formula to sell my workshops and courses at the Early Exit Academy. So I went into the sales lab portion of the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link) with trepidation. I’ve had to work at changing my mindset and thinking of sales as a skill that I can have to develop.
Wrapping my Head around a New Mindset
When it comes to financial products, it seems like there are plenty of “experts” eager to take your money. And all too often, they don’t deliver the goods. I don’t want to be one of “those” snake oil salespeople! But here’s the thing – if I carry around the notion that “sales” is a slimy concept, how will I ever advance my goals of helping people with their finances and making a living as a financial coach?
I needed some serious help changing my mindset about sales, and thank goodness the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link) addressed this upfront. The thing I am “selling” is the opportunity to transform your financial life. I’m offering a brighter future to my clients, and while I am on mission to empower them, I also have to place a value on my expertise and experience. This is the mindset I am working to adopt.
I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.
Dealing with Rejection . . . or How to Manage Wild Success
As I worked my way through the Academy’s sales lab, I realized that my fears tend to revolve around failure and rejection. Let’s face it – rejection comes with the territory, and it’s easy to dwell on the negative. Again, I had to switch my reference point so instead of rejection, I’m choosing to worry about the “problem” of being wildly successful! Plus, I know that rejection can be a temporary thing – people may not be ready to tackle their finances at that particular moment in time. But they’ll connect with me when they are ready.
People who are successful at sales know how to overcome the most common objections. As a financial coach, the question is how do I convince my ideal clients that a longer-term commitment might be just the thing that transforms their relationship with money? Again, the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link) provided guidance, arming us with responses to help overcome seven specific objections:
I have to talk to my husband.
I’m too busy.
Simply not committing.
Putting it on my credit card will hurt my credit score.
I don’t want to put this on my credit card (but they’ve been using their credit card for everything else).
You can see in my budget I can’t afford this.
It’s a lot to take in. At this point, I have to remind myself that sales is a skill, and the only way I’ll get better at it is by practicing. So I will be kind to myself as I fumble my way to the goal line.
The Honest Truth about Marketing
Now that I had a better sense of how to convert potential clients into paying clients, it was time to figure out how to reach my ideal clients in the first place. Before I jump into this aspect, let me share that everything I learned about marketing when I pushed out my courses at the Early Exit Academy turned into a HUGE money and time suck! So I had my doubts.
Relationships are Key
If you are starting a new business, you have to talk to your ideal clients, network, and build a relationship with referral partners. The Pyramid of Growth chart below outlines the marketing approach. The good news is that talking and networking doesn’t cost a lot of money. The bad news? If you’re like me, you’ll have to step out of your comfort zone. So the first thing I did was join a local network of businesswomen. And you know what, once I talked about my programs and saw that several women were interested, my confidence grew. I can do this!
Niches can Help
I’ve been at this entrepreneur stuff for almost two years. The field is crowded and it’s almost impossible to “catch a break.” The people who seem to have the best results are those with very narrow niches. While DrBrendaMoneyCoach is geared to helping women with their finances, I may have inadvertently walked myself into my ideal niche – women who want to throw convention to the wind and follow their dreams of adventure.
I’m in the process of trading in my house for an RV, from which I’ll travel the country and run my coaching business online. So I created the Gutsy Women Program and landed my first marketing gig! I’ll have a “Doctor is In” table at the 2020 RV-Dreams Spring Educational Rally, where I’ll offer free 15-minute financial checkup consultations. It will help me with brand recognition, drum up some business . . . and what a great way to write off the rally as a business expense! So if you’re in the Smoky Mountains in April, pop on over.
You’ll need Patience and Persistence
If you’re expecting to make money right off the bat as a new financial coach, think again. When you start out, your client base is zero. And since you don’t have any clients to share their positive experiences, it can feel like you are shouting into the wind.
Some days are downright discouraging. And these are the days when I have to push myself a little harder. One of the things I am working on is setting up a list of potential referral partners and taking at least one action every day to find ideal clients, network, market, and build relationships.
While patience and persistence are critical, there are some things beyond our control. For instance, timing! As I write this, most people are splurging on holiday gifts – addressing their financial issues is the furthest thing from their minds. But those new year’s resolutions are right around the corner. Even then, I’m anticipating the year ahead of me to be filled with building strong referral networks and attracting new clients. I just have to plod forward and build momentum.
My Final Impressions of the Financial Coach Academy
I am approaching the final week of the live version of the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link). I’ll continue this series as I work towards certification, but it’s not too soon to offer my final impressions of the program and coaches (led by Kelsa Dickey) at the Academy.
I started the Program in August and I can’t believe how much I have learned over the last 14 weeks. The tutorials on setting up the backend of the office have been worth the price alone. I have an organizational structure in place, a website, an automated scheduling system, a client tracker, customer relationship management system, and coaching programs and tools. But above all, I have skills that I will be honing for the rest of my career. Plus, the Academy encouraged me to build unique programs, based on my personal interests and my version of the ideal client.
The Facebook group that comes with the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link) has been robust, with my fellow students sharing their progress (and the hiccups along the way). One of the things I most appreciate about Coach Kelsa, Michael, and Jill, is that they offer support, but also tell it like it is. So if you wake up with a half-baked idea in the middle of the night, you can run it by the coaches and get honest feedback. For me, it meant I didn’t have to waste my time going down what may have been a treacherous road.
Here’s the thing: The Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link) requires a significant commitment of time and energy. Consider it another part-time job. In fact, even then it’s challenging to keep up with the content and weekly activities. Thankfully, I have access to the Academy lessons long after my session ends. I have some loose ends to tie up and I will be revisiting many of the lessons.
If you want to learn how to become a reputable financial coach and build your business, I can’t think of a better option! The Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link) is an extraordinary program that will help you launch a new career, and make your own life transformation.
Dr. Brenda is a financial coach, educator, researcher, and sociologist. In addition to blogging at The Five Journeys, she writes 30-day challenges at BetterLifeChallenges.com. Her passion is guiding people on their journey to financial freedom through coaching at DrBrendaMoneyCoach and online courses at DreamBigMoneyAcademy.com.
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