5 Ways to Use Forms to Market Your Coaching Business

By Cathy Goodwin | Small Business

5 Ways to Use Forms to Market Your Coaching Business image forms sm5 Ways to Use Forms to Market Your Coaching BusinessOK, if you really love to fill out those forms in the DMV or the insurance office, let me know. I’ll enter your name in the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not book.

But if you have a coaching, consulting or other service business, where relating to clients is part of your marketing, the choice to use forms – and the design of those forms – becomes part of your copywriting and marketing strategy. Here are 5 ways that you can use forms to grow your business and build relationships.

(1) Save time for you (and your prospects)

When you offer free “get acquainted” calls, you can end up talking to people who will eat away your time and never buy anything. And you’re not helping prospects when you talk to them, even for a short time, and then realize you are not a good fit for one another.

Create a form for prospects to complete before you agree to book the call. Motivated prospective clients will complete the form, especially if you ask open-ended questions that reinforce the positive. You can also help prospects realize what they’re struggling with and how they can use your help.

(2) Manage expectations.

The best way to get satisfied clients is to meet their expectations – which means making sure you communicate realistic ones!

Through your marketing, you’ll be promising a variety of outcomes to your clients. But as you probably know, people read things differently. When I was a college professor, I would always cringe when I’d see my students’ notes: they seemed nothing like what I’d said!

Therefore, it’s a good idea to create a form that asks prospective clients exactly what they anticipate from working with you. You can also get a sense of what they’re willing to do as they work on their projects or make changes in their businesses, lives or relationships. It’s best to get this information after you’ve accepted a new client but before you deposit the payment and before you begin working together.

Another way to establish expectations is to ask clients what they’ve gotten from working with other professionals and why they expect your program to be different. Someone who’s worked with half a dozen coaches and gotten nowhere might be uncoachable, might be choosing unwisely or might indeed have a problem that you can solve, where others couldn’t.

(3) Begin to build relationships before the first call.

Clients usually enjoy completing forms that ask for life histories, goals, and ideas. You can engage them further by setting up exercises that get them involved right away. For instance, instead of asking for a history of their lives, businesses, relationships or whatever applies, you can set up categories with insightful questions that get clients to think of the challenge in a new way. The coaching process begins right way!

(4) Help your clients work through a particularly knotty problem.

Many people also like forms that help them think through a particularly knotty challenge – a form that takes you from Point A to Point B and then on to Point C. For example, you might have a “vision process form.” Some business coaches have goal setting forms, business plan templates and other “how to” forms.

(5) Manage the client relationship.

Many coaches and consultants ask clients to complete forms before and after each session. Before the session, you learn what the client expects – an updated version of the client expectations form they completed before signing up. Afterward, you get a record of the client’s reaction to the session.

Most clients will be consistent in their responses: if they liked the session right away, they’ll be fine. But some people need time to “process” their experience – reflect, take time and realize how they feel. These clients write, “Everything’s great!” and then pull back a few weeks later. That’s why you’re taking a risk when you ask prospects to sign up on the spot for a longer-term program: most will be happy but a few will experience major buyer’s remorse. You have to decide what to do if that happens; an unhappy client can cause a lot of trouble.

Some business owners go one step further with an Exit Questionnaire, asking for comments as clients leave the relationship at the end of the agreed time you spent together. This questionnaire will be helpful to generate testimonials, if the client was happy and if clients are comfortable talking about your service (in contrast to, say, psychotherapy or certain types of career coaching).

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