As a coach, you already have the skills you need to enroll clients. You get clients by serving, supporting, listening, and building rapport. You do not get clients by selling, convincing, or persuading. Everything you need to enroll clients is already in your coach’s toolbox.

Here are 5 ways you can apply your coaching skills to the client enrollment process.

Put the client’s agenda first.

One of the most important things we do as coaches is to put aside our own personal agenda so we can meet the client where they’re at. We have to let go of what we think they should do, how we think they should do it, and when we think they should do it. We have to let them set the agenda and the timing for their own work, in real time, as it unfolds, and when THEY decide they are ready.

In a sales conversation, it’s no different. We need to let go of our own agenda. In order to be fully present in the conversation, we need to be able to let go of our own attachment to making the sale.

When we are able to apply this coaching skill in an enrollment conversation it’s a game-changer. Why? It builds trust. It creates space for truth and authenticity. It’s a different (and better!) energy when there are no strings attached. And when people see you really have their best interests at heart, they are much more likely to want to take a next step with you. So the more you can let go of what you want to get out of an enrollment conversation, the more successful your enrollment conversations will be.

Mind the gap.

Coaching is all about helping people move from where they are now to where they want to be at some point in the future. As coaches, we are constantly helping people navigate the seas of change. We are the ultimate change agents. How do we help our clients make progress through change? It starts with a simple a gap analysis. Where are you now, exactly? Where is it that you want to go, and why? What’s in your way, and what’s the best way to get there?

An enrollment process is the exact same thing. It’s a gap analysis. Where is the client now? Where do they want to go? What’s in their way? And how can you help them navigate the change they want to create?

By leveraging the coaching framework in your enrollment conversations, you have an opportunity to help the client feel supported, to help them better understand what it’s going to take to make the changes they seek, and most importantly, you’ll help build their confidence in you as a trusted resource to help them get where they want to go.

Show up in service.

Coaching is a relationship-based profession. It’s also a practice oriented around service and providing value to clients. In contrast, we often think of sales as a practice of trying to get something. And it’s that very mentality of trying to “get something” that gives the sales profession a bad rap. But that’s now how it has to be, nor how it should be.

In truth, like coaching, sales is about showing up in service and providing value. But because culturally we are taught that sales is about getting something, often we feel like we shouldn’t be giving anything during our client enrollment process. That could not be farther from the truth.

Don’t be afraid to provide real value in your enrollment conversations. I recommend taking some time to get clear on all the different ways you could provide value, especially in this specific context. Do you want people to leave the conversation with clarity, confidence, a clear list of action steps? If you can provide clear and compelling value that supports the client to bridge their gap, you’ll be well on your way to building the trust and respect that will land you more clients.

Ask great questions.

One of the things I love about coaching is how it leverages the simple power of asking great questions. Asking meaningful questions is one of the most underrated practices in the human race. I have seen people break down and cry in a coaching session when asked the question, “What do you really want?” It’s a simple question, but one they haven’t been asking themselves, or allowing themselves to answer. Who knew that asking the right question could be so incredibly transformational?

Not that you want to make people cry in your enrollment conversations, but you do want to ask them great questions! Great questions are the foundation for insightful discussions, and insightful discussions are a great foundation for building relationships.

So think about what kinds of powerful questions you could be asking in your enrollment conversations. You want to ask questions that will:

  1. Provide value;
  2. Build the relationship; and
  3. Move the client into a greater state of awareness about the challenges they are facing and the goals they want to achieve.

Listen more than you talk.

I was recently on the receiving end of a terrible sales pitch. There were so many things wrong with it (watch for a separate blog post on the Monster Truck Lady), but the worst part was how much she talked and how little she listened. And even when she asked me questions, I felt like she was running down a checklist but not really listening to what I was saying. (And she proved my suspicions true by incorrectly repeating my answers back to me multiple times.)

Needless to say, when we don’t feel listened to, we don’t feel valued. And I don’t know about you, but I have zero interest in working with a coach or anyone else who doesn’t at a fundamental level make me feel valued. And neither do your clients.

So put your expert coaching skills to work and focus on being a good listener in your enrollment conversations. You’ll accelerate the know-like-and-trust factor in the relationship and you’ll have more clients to show for it in the long run.

How have you put your coaching skills to work to enroll clients? Please share in the comments below!