Do you have a strategy to stay in meaningful dialogue with potential clients who don’t say yes right away?
Many of our best future clients are people who don’t say yes at first.
I’ve seen my clients experience it in their businesses and I’ve experienced this in my business time and again, as well. But most coaches drop the ball if someone doesn’t say yes right away. They assume that the people who don’t raise their hand right away are saying, “No, forever” when they actually could be saying, “I’m not ready at this very moment.” As a result, most coaches simply let these opportunities go and do nothing to foster that prospect into a client down the road.
Instead of leaving it to the winds of destiny, make a strategy to follow up with potential clients who seem interested but aren’t ready to commit today. Create an opportunity for meaningful dialogue by responding to their “no” with, “How about I follow up with you in X amount of time to see how you’re doing? Would that work for you?”
This can be a discerning factor for people who are looking for the right coach, especially because when people are ready to hire coaches, they hire the person who’s in view. They’ll look around and consider who they know and who their friends know. If they saw you speak a year ago and you haven’t made it a point to stay in touch, they may not even remember your name.
So really, this is about determining how to engage with people in your pipeline so that if and when they’re ready, they think of you and call you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve followed up with people and they say “it’s funny you are following up with me because I was just thinking it was time to get serious about my coaching business”.
Let’s look at an example.
Say you’re a career coach for stay-at-home moms who are re-launching their careers and you speak to someone who isn’t quite ready to act. Maybe she’s been working part time, but her job is unfulfilling. At the same time, it’s June and her kids are just getting out of school; she tells you, “Maybe I’ll think about getting a new job in the fall.”
Fall comes around. You circle back with her and say, “Hey, just checking in. We talked in June. How was your summer? Have you made any progress in figuring out what it is that you want to do?” Engage her in a curious way and let her know that you’re thinking about her.
Now, your potential client is going to realize that four months have gone by and quite likely she’s done nothing to move forward in this area of her life. It wakes her up. Just by showing up and being curious, you can evoke an “Oh my gosh, I’m in the same place I was four months ago!” moment, especially if you ask, “What is it costing you to be stuck where you are? Time? Money? Energy?” Compare that to what it costs to commit to coaching.
Of course, some people won’t respond when you follow up, and that’s okay. You get to decide how long you engage with people before you let them go. I’ve had some clients engage with me for over a year before they’re ready, and in some ways, that extra time made them an even more powerful “Yes” when the time came.
So, what do you do to engage the prospects in your pipeline who aren’t a powerful yes the first time you speak to them? What will you do going forward to engage these people even more? I’d love to hear!
Tara Butler Floch