Unlocking Success: The 5 Essential Steps for Getting Coaching Clients on Meetup

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Dyan Ferguson started her coaching practice in 2014. Like many other coaches, she was full of excitement but did not have any marketing skills. She quickly realized she needed to learn how to market and sell her coaching services.

There are many ways to find new clients, such as social media posts, growing a Facebook group, building a mailing list, or giving webinars. Dyan has found great success through speaking and coaching through the Meetup platform. It took some trial and error at first, but over time, she has successfully created and facilitated three Meetup Groups and honed her strategy over the years in a way other coaches can duplicate.

Her third Meetup group, created to promote the MAP Method™ — ‘Rewire Your Brain to Fearless and Free,’ took off immediately in 2022 with many people interested in her coaching programs. She went to Colette Streicher, founder of the MAP Method, to share the group’s success and also for help dealing with the demand, and they decided it was time to bring this opportunity to all MAP Practitioners.

Dyan immediately embarked upon creating a program for fellow MAP practitioners to market their coaching businesses through Meetup, which included creating a worldwide network of MAP practitioners using the Meetup Pro account. There were lots of wins and successes, as well as lots of lessons learned, and as a result, Dyan is currently working on a new and improved version of the program. This new version is a step-by-step mentoring program that focuses on helping coaches create the cornerstones of their business first before making a Meetup group.

On behalf of the MAP Coaching Institute, I’m delighted to interview Dyan to share more about the benefits of her upcoming program. Here are some key highlights of the interview, with my questions as the header and her answers under each question (edited for conciseness).

 

Hi Dyan, what inspired you to create this program to help coaches get clients?

Like all coaches, I wanted to get clients quickly, but I struggled with that initially. Over time, I learned how to get clients through offering events and speaking on Meetup. It took some time, and I made a lot of mistakes, but I eventually learned how to get clients in a way that was both fun and easy for me. I had already had two successful Meetup Groups before I got certified in MAP. So naturally, after I got certified as a MAP practitioner, I started my third Meetup group to promote MAP.

Within a month, I gained more clients than I had time for. And so I went to Colette (founder of the MAP Method) with my happy problem. We got super excited about teaching MAP practitioners how to use Meetup to get clients.

So that's how this program came to be.

How the program evolved

The original version of the 'Mapping the World with Meetup' program was launched in late 2022. I shared the details of my marketing strategy and taught the how-tos of setting up and managing a Meetup Group, group coaching and offering my programs.

Over time, through watching some people succeed and others struggle, I realized that my marketing path was too accelerated for people new to coaching. Many were newly certified and had yet to gain experience in marketing, selling, and speaking to groups. They needed a lot more support getting grounded in their business basics.

So, we're relaunching a second version of this program and focusing on slowing it down, making it more of a step-by-step mentoring program that feels fun, affirming, and exciting.

 

What are the steps that you recommend coaches take?

There are some foundational things that every coach has to master and put in place before trying to grow their business, but many coaching programs don't teach that.

In this mentoring program, I guide coaches through these five essential steps. The steps are progressive, meaning the first step needs to be achieved before you move on to step 2, and so on. Coaches need to have these five things in place before they even reach out to market to potential clients; otherwise, their offers won't be compelling to potential clients.

Step 1: Decide on a marketing strategy that aligns with your strengths

Realistically, we can’t do it all! Trying to market everywhere using all possible methods will deplete you and dilute your message. If you are energized by speaking, choose a strategy that emphasizes speaking and events! If you enjoy writing, choose that! If you dig social media, choose that. Then, design a cohesive strategy around your preferred medium of communication.

Step 2: Create a marketable niche

To get clients relatively easily, you need to focus on just one marketable niche people are willing to pay for. This helps you build credibility, making it easier for your audience to recognize what you specialize in. Most of all, it's easier for people to identify themselves as your potential client. You also need to have enough personal experience to relate well to your potential clients and have enough passion.

Step 3: Create a marketable program

It's not enough to approach people just with your niche. It's definitely not sustainable to offer unstructured MAP or coaching sessions. Having a well-structured program with a clear path and specific outcomes helps your clients know where they are as they go through your program and measure their progress. Your program will also help give them more confidence that they can achieve these outcomes by investing time, money, and effort.

Step 4: Speak confidently to groups

Speaking skills are essential for any coach. You might think you are clear and articulate, but most of us need to learn how to create engagement and help the audience relate to us. You also need to practice showing up authentically and sharing vulnerable and relatable life stories so that others can feel safe to share theirs. Even if you are not ready to go on Meetup yet, you can still take these skills and record content videos, go on Facebook Live, or speak to groups in-person or online.

Step 5: Offer effective group coaching in a safe container

Since Meetup offers groups, it's essential to have strong group coaching skills. This will also greatly serve any coach who wants to expand their business and income levels. So, it's an effective and sustainable way to offer coaching to your ideal audience. Some of what we cover in the training includes creating an energetic container and a safe space where people engage and transform.

These group coaching and speaking skills help create a successful Meetup event where people feel welcome, safe, and heard. They gain insights and trust in you. This makes it easy for them to take the next step and invest in your paid coaching program.

 

What are some of the mistakes you've made and lessons you've learned through these five steps?

Offering too many niches at the same time!

I've been in love with three different niches since I started — teaching intuition, relationships, and overcoming anxiety. Offering these niches through separate Facebook posts and websites was a mistake. That dispersed my energy, so I could only focus a bit on each niche and ultimately could not go deeper into any of them.

I just ended up working too hard with little gain. Offering too many niches can also confuse your clients and harm your credibility.

Most coaches change niches at least once as they evolve and grow. But I recommend you do your best to pick one, even if it's just for now, and go deep into your learning and how you communicate to your niche audience.

Offering coaching without structured programs

I used to sell coaching sessions without any structured programs. I've found that clients would stay for three to six sessions, but after a while, they didn't know where they were going through the sessions, so they eventually stopped renewing sessions. Or, a client would show up for a session with a huge issue requiring several sessions, but they would have no idea what to focus on within a single session, and I would feel lost as well.

Designing a specific program with predefined steps offers the client and the coach clear guideposts to work with. For example, if my program has six steps, we can always come back to these six steps and ask: "where are we with these steps?" or "Where do we need to strengthen?" instead of always asking, "What do you want to focus on today?"

Valuing expertise over authenticity

When I started my first Meetup group — 'Develop Your Intuition and Change Your Life,' it was all new, and I was very informal. Most of the time, I had no preconceived ideas about who I was supposed to be. But every now and then, I would question whether I had enough expertise (aka Imposter Syndrome), and then I'd get myself into trouble. In those moments, I sounded less confident and also less passionate. When I started my second Meetup group— 'Creating Conscious Relationship,' initially, I was even more concerned about being an expert, and it definitely had an impact!

So, I had to learn the balance between knowing when to invest in professional development, being authentic, and stepping into my passions. This is an essential balance for all coaches to maintain. Remember that your clients will trust the imperfect, authentic you more than your intellectual, perfectionist version.

Spaghetti Marketing

I love this term. It refers to trying anything and everything, all at the same time, to try to get clients. You're on every social media platform, creating random posts and videos, offering an event here and there, and sending emails.

The problem with this kind of marketing is that there is no clear brand or path for potential clients to connect with you and what you're offering! We, coaches, do this spaghetti marketing when we don't know enough about marketing and feel anxious about not getting clients. It really is best to create a marketing plan that leverages your strengths (for example, speaking vs. writing) and enables you to have fun while creating a clearly identifiable brand.

 

But don't you need enough coaching experience to create an effective program?

Great question. Yes, if you haven't coached before, it's tough to imagine designing a 6, 8, or 12-week program. That was why I didn't have a program when I started as a coach. I had no idea what steps to take people through. Over time, I became clearer about what steps to take my clients through and how to structure them to facilitate transformation.

I want to shorten this learning curve for new coaches to start creating their programs.

Through the mentoring program, I can help you expand on your idea if you already have one, or I can help you brainstorm more ideas. Since this is a group mentoring program, other coaches in the group might inspire you as well.

Everyone will learn by doing and fine-tuning their programs as they gain more experience and client feedback.

What if I just want to work with clients one-on-one? Do I still need to speak to groups?

Even if you want to work with one-on-one clients, building speaking and group coaching skills for marketing is still helpful. Most of our marketing is on social media, and fewer people read emails these days. If you are building a Facebook group, speaking and interacting frequently with your group is much more effective. You can also offer some group coaching within your community.

Eventually, your client load will keep increasing until you scale your business. And the best way to do that is to offer paid group coaching programs.

It's worth your time and effort to build those skills sooner rather than later.

 

Conclusion

To summarize, Dyan recommends these five essential steps to build a thriving coaching practice:

  1. Align your branded marketing strategy with your strengths and what you enjoy.
  2. Have a marketable niche.
  3. Offer a marketable program based on this niche.
  4. Speak to your Meetup or other group in a powerful and engaging manner.
  5. Offer effective, transformational group coaching in a safe container.

We encourage you to follow these steps to book more clients for a thriving coaching practice. And, if you’d like to shorten the learning curve, Dyan is here to offer a helping hand through her ‘Get Clients Now — Meetup Marketing Mentorship’ Program. Her passion lies in creating a safe space and providing personalized guidance to refine these vital steps for your coaching practice.

 

 

To find out more and enroll, click on this link below:
 
 
 
 

 

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