Finding new running clients or leads is important as a coach. Even if you have a full roster of clients today, you will eventually lose some through injury, changes in your client's goals and priorities, and just the normal ups and downs of running a coaching business.
If you lose a few clients at the same time, it can have a big impact on your revenue. So you should be constantly working to attract new clients so that you can maintain stability and sustain your business long term.
Here are 5 ways to help you do just that. If you are a Training Tilt coach, I've included how you can use the tools in the platform to help with some of the approaches but they can all be implemented regardless of what system you use to coach your clients or run your business.
1. Ask Your Current Clients to Refer and Recommend You
The easiest and cheapest way to find new clients is still from referrals. Most coaches rely on organic referrals from their clients, but you can magnify this by having a process in place to regularly ask your clients if they have any friends or colleagues who might be looking for coaching.
If you have good relationships with your clients, they are more than likely to help you out. This is always a win-win-win situation for all involved. You as the coach can easily get new clients, your new client gets a new coach and the referring client has the opportunity to help both of them. Good feelings all around!
You can just simply ask them next time you talk to them but there are a bunch of more repeatable and system-driven ways (so you don't have to remember to do it) you can do this, some are direct and some are more subtle. Here is a list of ideas.
As Part of Regular Check-ins or Calls
If you have a regular check-in form or process you use with your clients then include something on the form or make it part of your process if you do in person checking. If it's on a form add a question. "Do you know anyone who might benefit from coaching, if so would you mind reaching out to them personally or even just sharing something on Social media?". Make it super easy for them by providing some example text for a post or an email or just a small script.
Something like. "Hey <insert friend name>, I'm really enjoying being coached by Dave Andrews at the moment and I think he might be a great fit, here's his email address in case you wanted to reach out". Obviously, you want your clients to use their own words when recommending you but give them a place to start without making it too much work for them.
Did you know you can create your own online forms with Training Tilt? you can use them for onboarding new clients or regular check-ins.
Add to Your Email Signature
Add a note to your email signature. This is a great subtle way to let your current clients know you are looking for new customers. For example, you could simply add something like this to your email signature. "If you are enjoying your coaching experience we'd love it if you could share something with a friend or on social media. Thanks so much". Then include a short explanation on how new customers can get in touch with you, a link to a form or your email address etc.
Post in Your Private Group
If you have a private group or community regularly post asking your clients to share that you are looking for new clients. Again ensure you make it clear how new potential clients can get in touch with you and include sample text.
Add a Note to Your Clients Training Plan
This is a much more direct approach that you may not want to use for all of your clients, but it's a nice and simple way to ask your clients with very little friction. If you are using a coaching platform like Training Tilt then you can simply add an item into your workout library with the details, that way you can easily just drag and drop it onto your client calendars in seconds. In Training Tilt it's best to add an item to the library with the type "Information" that way it shows up as a note in their training calendar rather than a workout, that way they won't get confused.
Regularly Send a Bulk Email to Your Clients
Email is still one of the most powerful ways to reach people. Regularly sending emails to your existing clients is a great way to keep them engaged. You can send regular emails with content designed to help your clients with their training and sometimes include a section asking them to refer you. Alternatively, you can send dedicated emails asking for referrals. Sending a dedicated email will mean that it won't get lost amongst the other great content you include.
You don't need to do this every week but a monthly or bi-monthly cadence feels about right. If you are a Training Tilt coach you can use the email messaging tool inside the platform to easily send messages to individuals, groups or all of your clients at once. It's very simple and saves you from having to keep a separate list of your client's email addresses in your email account.
2. Use Social Media
I've talked about this a lot before so I won't go into too much detail here. Sharing valuable content on your social media channels, on your website and to your email list is one of the best ways to build trust and build your authority with your current and existing clients. You should be doing this regularly and not just when you are looking for new clients. Building trust online is like training for a marathon. You can't do it by just doing sprint training now and then, you need to do this consistently over time. Sometimes it's hard to get motivated to do this type of work as there are no immediate results (just like training for a marathon) but over time it will help you build your authority online.
3. Maintain a Presence at Events
Regardless if you coach predominately online or locally in-person showing up to events is a great way to get exposure and attract new clients. You should make an appearance personally at as many events as you can, pitch your tent and if you can set something up that will bring some foot traffic through and make it memorable. Something as simple as having a supply of water that passers-by can fill their water bottles is a nice idea. At Ironman New Zealand every year Training Tilt coaching business Foot Traffic Coaching set up their tent on the course and supply their supporters with shade, drinks, snacks and even noisemakers to help them cheer on the racers. Every year it's one of the most vibrant spots on the course and Rob and Kellee from Foottraffic always get comments from those racing thanking them for the support. On more than one occasion I've been there when an athlete that isn't coached by them comes to the tent after they've finished thanking everyone for their support. This is part of the reason why Rob has become one of the most well known and liked triathlon coaches in New Zealand.
It's also important that your clients are visible at the events if they are racing or supporting. Having branded running or triathlon gear is always a good idea. Make sure you make this as accessible as possible so it's affordable for your clients but also make sure it's great quality. If you make a good quality kit and make it affordable then your clients are more likely to wear it at races and in training. More on that in the next idea.
If you can build a rapport and establish a relationship with the event organizers then that's also a great idea. Reach out to the organizers and offer your time or expertise. A great way to do this is to offer to run a pre-race seminar where you can share your experience and coaching knowledge specific to the event. Or alternatively, offer to write a training plan and provide it to the race organizers to share with the participants.
All of these examples are a great way to get exposure to participants who will then have your business top of mind for the next time they do the specific event or other events but want to go to the next level by employing a coach.
4. Design Great Kit and Merch
Having branded running or triathlon gear is always a good idea. Make sure you make this as accessible as possible so it's affordable for your clients but also make sure it's great quality. If you make a good quality kit and make it affordable then your clients are more likely to wear it at races and in training.
The more it's seen the more likely new clients are going to remember your business.
You can do full racing kits, socks, drink bottles and whatever else you can think of. One of my favourites is a good quality hat, something that can be raced in or worn for casual. The more likely it is to be used and seen the better.
Don't do what some events do and include the cheapest quality kit in a race pack. The first thing I do with my cheap race t-shirts is put them in my "Old painting clothes" draw. Cheap kit rarely sees the light of day once it's relegated to the scrap drawer.
Once you have your kit you can sell it on your website and offer discounts for current clients. If you have a Training Tilt site already then you can add them to your online store that's fully integrated with your coaching platform.
5. Referrals From Other Coaches
Coaches often have a full roster, which means you won't be able to accept new clients. If you build relationships with other coaches that you know and respect you can refer those clients on. And vice versa when you need new clients and those other coaches have full rosters then they can do the same for you.
If you're not a great fit for potential clients or they need some advice or coaching that you don't specialize in, passing the client on to another coach is a great option.
Building strong relationships with a few other coaches will be beneficial for all parties. The coaches will have access to a larger pool of clients, and the clients will have multiple options if you're not available.
Now you have some tools in your belt for attracting new clients it's important to be able to keep track of them. You won't always be able to take on new clients when they enquire so you need a way to keep track of them. Initially, you should just keep it simple and store them all in something like a spreadsheet with names, contact details and notes you can refer back to. Then when the time comes when you have space on your roster you have a list of people you can reach out to to see if they are still interested in coaching.
If you want to get more advanced about it you can store them in a CRM like Hubspot or Zoho, both have free options. If you are a Training Tilt Customer you can use our simple "Contacts" feature which allows you to manually add potential clients and any notes into the system. You can then use the messaging tool to reach out to them. Anyone that fills in a contact form or an enquiry form on your Training Tilt site gets added to your contacts list automatically too so you don't need to do anything manually if you are leveraging those integrated tools.
By adding these 5 methods to your arsenal and applying them consistently, you'll be able to generate demand and have access to a larger pool of potential clients when you need them.
If you don't currently have a Training Tilt account and are interested in using some of our tools to help you find and keep track of new clients and manage everything about your existing clients sign up for a free trial
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