One of the most important things to know about starting a successful online business is picking a niche.
No, “life coaching” is not a niche. Neither is health coaching,
A niche is much more than your title.
It’s about what you do but it’s also about who you do it for.
But that also creates a conundrum for the beginner coach or entrepreneur.
If you haven’t booked that many clients yet, how on earth are you supposed to pick your niche?
Full disclosure: I definitely suffered from this affliction at the beginning of my coaching career.
I thought that just telling people I was a coach would be good enough.
Newsflash: it wasn’t.
And now I get why.
For starters, we’re still at the beginning of the coaching revolution in the world. But we’re still the outliers.
That means that while people might have heard the term “life coach” before they still might not really understand what that is, much less what someone like you can do for them.
In marketing, just talking about your title and your services or products isn’t going to get you very far.
You can keep saying “one-hour session”, “three-month package” or “45-page workbook” all you want but you’re never going to attract clients or customers that way.
(Trust me, no one wants a damn workbook, no matter how pretty it might be!)
But they do want what’s in the workbook or session.
Remember, they’re already craving something else in life (something that you can help them with): more business clarity, improved confidence, an improved dating life.
And that need/problem is what you need to focus on.
Let’s be clear: getting super clear about who you’re serving and picking a niche is an invaluable step forward in your business.
So if you’ve already done that, congrats! Don’t change it now.
But it’s all a myth that you absolutely have to pick your niche before you can build a successful business. So if you’re feeling uninformed or nervous or otherwise blocked about picking something, then don’t let it become a roadblock to financial success.
(Again, this was me for a long time! So take my hard-earned lessons and learn from them.)
People might be seeing your message about life coaching, nutrition, intuitive tarot readings, or energy healing and still not understand how that relates to them.
Those definitions are not always as clear as we think they are. And you cannot expect your clients to do Mental Gymnastics to bridge the gap.
It’s up to you to do that.
And fortunately, you can do it through one simple tool: storytelling.
Selling With Stories: How To Sell Out Your Coaching or Services Without A Niche
Storytelling Tip #1:
Tell Your Own Story
Remember my friend, you are always your own greatest client. You are the living, breathing, walking example of what is possible for the people you want to help.
But in order for people to know that, you have to share your own transformation!
That doesn’t necessarily mean telling the stories about crying on the bathroom floor or having your credit card declined. Or maybe it does! We all have a certain comfort zone when it comes to revealing ourselves online. While I don’t believe you necessarily have to share every gruesome detail, sharing reveals a lot about you.
For one thing, just presenting a glossy image isn’t as effective as it once was. We’re tired of the Instagram perfect BS! We want to really feel you–“failures”, bad moods, and all.
Letting people in (in small bites at least!) will not only let people feel your energy, but illustrate how the work you do has changed your world for the better.
A great example of someone who does this is coach Melanie Ann Layer. Go follow her for a while and you’ll definitely hear her tell her brand creation story, over and over again. It’s an extremely effective way of her connecting with her audience while illustrating what’s possible. Yes, even if you’ve heard the story before so don’t be afraid to test it out.
Storytelling Tip #2:
Tell A Client/Customer’s Story
The next powerful tool in your storytelling belt is your client and customer stories.
Please always ask permission or use examples anonymously (or both!). Obviously, your best judgment is required.
You might be freaking out about how to find the next client right now. While that’s understandable, when you focus on trying to get new followers, you’re forgetting to share the magic of those whom you’ve already worked with.
Yes, this still works even if your only customer so far was your Aunt Cathy.
However, there’s a big trick with this: don’t rely on them to tell the story for you. If you sit around waiting for Aunt Cathy to send you a glowing testimonial that highlights their transformation journey perfectly, you might be waiting forever!
Instead, take matters into your own hands. Either write out the story with your objectives in mind and get them to sign off on it. Or send them a series of questions to answer that you can then group together and use as your story.
When left to their own devices, even your most raving clients will end up writing something like: “I liked her a lot and she really helped me with X!” But that isn’t a story! That means other people reading it won’t be able to see themselves in that transformation, even if it was genuine and glowing.
However, people respond to Befores, Problems and Afters. So make sure that you tell your clients stories the right way for maximum impact.
Storytelling Tip #3:
Make ‘Em Up
Now hold your horses! I definitely don’t mean stuffing your site with made-up testimonials like “I helped my client Gigi Hadid to get over her confidence issues.” Making up or faking clients is not the way to get ahead.
However, a little imagination in storytelling can be a genuine and powerful way to sell your products or services effectively.
This simply involves making up generic examples of problems and your solution to show the world how it might help them too.
A great example of someone who does this is hypnotherapist Marisa Peer. Marissa is always using examples in her storytelling that I’m 99% sure are just bits and pieces of real clients she’s worked with. She’ll use examples like: “When Johnny was a little boy, he experienced X.”
This is brilliant because, while I’m pretty sure “Johnny” doesn’t actually exist, just telling the story with a name attached to it both makes it seem tangible and helps the reader to see what’s possible for them.
When they identify with someone in one of her stories, the lightbulb goes off inside: “If this helped that person, it can help me too.” And that’s when they sign up for a class or freebie or whatever. Without that connection, just saying “I’m a hypnotherapist” (or life coach or business coach) would not be enough to connect.
In the world of marketing, specificity sells. Confused potential clients and customers will never buy from you–and yes, simply saying “Book your one-hour session with me!” is confusing. Your readers have no idea what that means–and worse!–they won’t care until you make them care.
A niche is extremely helpful with fixing this problem. But it’s definitely not the only path forward.
So while you build your business and figure out your niche, start illustrating the transformation that you facilitate at every possible step. It’s up to you to bridge the gap between where your people are now and the result you can create.
Remember, humans love stories whether they’re on reality TV, blockbuster movies, or on your Instagram posts. So not only is storytelling great for your bank account, it also keeps your people entertained, connecting with your message, and feeling your energy–which in the end, is the most powerful sales technique of all.
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