Firstly this is not an attack on Training Peaks, nor is it a commentary of the quality of any of their features which are excellent.
This post is not about which tools to use to do your actual coaching with nor about how you interact with your clients once you have acquired them. This is about how to build a premium brand to attract premium clients willing to pay a premium price. The end result is the ability to coach less clients while generating more revenue which should lead to even better results.
TP is a great platform and was one of the inspirations for creating our coaching and community platform Training Tilt, not in terms of competing with them but for offering coaches the business tools that Training Peaks does not offer. Anyway that's a story for another day.
Training Peaks Coach Match is a service Training Peaks offer to match up athletes with coaches. It's pretty much a market place where athletes can search a list to find a coach who matches their requirements and budget.
Sounds good right? Well on the surface it does and for many coaches it's a good option for attracting new clients from a large pool of athletes.
However, if you are trying to build a premium brand and develop yourself as an authority in your field the Training Peaks Coach Match service is not the place to achieve that.
A Farmers Market Where Everyone Sells Lettuces
A market place is a great concept but to be done well the Managers of the market place must be careful to create the right balance of products and services.
Imagine turning up to a Farmers Market on a Sunday morning to stock up on groceries for the week and finding everyone is selling lettuces. It wouldn't work right?
You might argue that it isn't an issue with Training Peaks Coach Match because everyone is looking for lettuces so you've got to be selling lettuces. Well that brings us nicely to my next point.
To Be Successful as a Premium Coach you must clearly differentiate
If your goal is to be a premium coach and to attract premium, loyal and high paying clients you need to clearly differentiate yourself from your competition.
You absolutely cannot achieve that by placing yourself along side hundreds of other coaches in a marketplace designed to cater for the "average athlete". Market places are for the average Joe, nothing wrong with that if it's the average athlete you are looking to attract that will achieve average results on an average budget.
Coach Match Puts the Power in The Hands of the Athlete
The driving force behind a market place is to put the power in the hands of the consumer where they can easily peruse products and services and find something suitable that matches their requirements and their budget. If you put yourself in the market place then you will need to price yourself comparably to the other coaches in the market place.
There shouldn't be a need to rely on a market place to reach clients. There is exponentially more athletes out there than there are coaches, you should not need to have to put yourself up against a massive list of other coaches to reach this huge audience.
You might argue that pricing yourself above everyone in the market place will differentiate you from the rest and position you as a premium coach. My next point covers why it's not that simple.
Premium Clients Don't Go to a Market Place for Premium Products
A market place is great for commodities, products and brands that are no longer easy to differentiate. Milk, bread, eggs, vegetables, cars etc.
But even among those commodities there is potential to differentiate by creating a premium brand.
However, it is very difficult if not impossible to create that premium brand in a market place scenario. The main reason is that clients that are looking for premium products don't go to a market place to find them.
For example a used car fair is a market place where people go to buy and sell used cars. It's great if you are looking for a used car because it saves you time as a purchaser and you can easily walk up and down the rows of cars comparing price, mileage, condition etc.
That's fine if you are looking for a Honda, Toyota or a Nissan. But if you are looking for a Rolls Royce, would you go to a car fair to find one? No you wouldn't, and premium endurance coaching clients won't go to Training Peaks Coach Match to find a premium coach.
Marketplaces Promote Price Competition
Like it or not, in a market place situation everyone is comparing price.
Even though in the Training Peaks Coach Match service pricing is not part of the immediately visible profile, typically an athlete will find a bunch of coaches they like the look of that match their requirements then they'll go to the next step. More often than not the deciding factor will be price.
Sure they'll also make sure that they've found a coach that matches their requirements but at some point it will come down to price. As a premium coach you absolutely do not want to compete of price. You can read more about why to avoid competing on price on in my blog post.
The Training Peaks Coach Match service is a great market place and a good place to get started in your coaching business if you haven't had time to build your reputation and authority as a premium coach.
However it's built with the athlete in mind, to make it easier for the athlete to find a coach that matches their requirements.
The market place situation makes it very difficult to differentiate yourself from other coaches especially if you are building a premium brand and the ideal premium clients are unlikely to use a market place when searching for a premium coach.
So what to do next?
I don't necessarily think you need to pull your self off Coach Match if you are trying to build a premium brand but you shouldn't rely on it to get premium clients and you do need to focus on other more important things like;
Over at Training Tilt we've got all the tools you need to build a premium coaching business including website, online store, plan builders and the ability to sell online memberships. And don't forget because we love Training Peaks we've integrated them into our platform so you and your athletes can have a combined view of their Training Peaks schedule along with other content managed inside the Training Tilt platform.
Take our Free "Authentic" Marketing Course for Coaches
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