In summary, don't try to be all things to all people. I have found that far too often coaches/trainers think that the best way to succeed is to build their business alone.
Strategic collaboration gives you and your business a much higher chance of success.
By collaboration, I mean finding leads in ancillary markets, and partnering with coaches that have skills complementary to your own. Whether that be a mental trainer, a physical trainer, rehab specialist, etc.
The truth is, while I am skilled in many areas, I just don't have the depth of expertise that these trainers have within their specialization. By bringing together complementary specialists, you build a holistic team dedicated to the athlete's transformation.
While many may see this as competition ("why would I bring in someone who could compete for my business?"), it's actually a win-win-win. Your athlete receives a wider depth of knowledge, you further establish credibility within your niche, and, because you are upfront about who you can serve, you build trust with your clients.
In fact, sharing contacts is exactly how I built my coaching business: through word of mouth. I realized that there were likely hundreds of coaches out there who were just as capable as I am.
But, rather than see that as a threat, I became strategic and developed a plan to add value to shared customers rather than set out on my own to find new coaching clients.
As you likely know, I was a successful (and burnt out, but that's for another day) high performance golf coach. I became something of a Guru on the Central Coast of California which happens to be a popular spot for wineries.
And you know what golfers of a certain age like almost as much as shooting in the 70's?
That's right…. Wine. So what did I do?
I spoke with the owners of the most successful wineries in the region and offered my services as a member benefit to their wine club. While not every winery went for it, those that did represented over 100,000 potential leads that I didn't have before. This obviously led to more 1-1 coaching opportunities but it also led to wineries sponsoring some of my events.
Building off this idea, I decided to start hosting clinics with 2 other complementary expert coaches I knew on the Central Coast. I would come in as the "golf mechanics" expert, another would be the "functional movement" expert, and another the "mental trainer/sport psychology" expert, etc.
Through these events, we'd deliver unparalleled value all while exposing each others clients to what we all had to offer.
Down the road, whenever I met a client that could benefit from their skill sets, I would refer them over. They did the same for me. This is how I built a 6-figure coaching business.
It also introduced a new challenge: it was a total mess and time suck trying to coach in a collaborative way through email and text and other outdated technologies. When I brought in other coaches for my athletes, it created a mess of disparate data points that became difficult to manage.
The solution? I founded CoachNow, making it incredibly simple for the multiple coaches to collaborate in one distraction-free platform, and kept the athletes entire support team in sync.
But that's a story for another post.
OK, BUT WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS INFORMATION?
Let's dig into WHY collaboration is so important, not only with other coaches but also with complementary businesses as well.
- By working with other complimentary coaches you can double/triple your potential customer reach immediately. The magic of warm referrals can jump-start any coaching career.
- Find a business that has shared customers. In my case, I partnered with local wineries and was their go-to "Golf Guru". 1,000s of warm leads immediately.
- Bringing in other experts will help fill your live or virtual event plus make it stand out from the crowd. There is no reason you can't do a virtual event series using Zoom Webinars and charge for it just like you would for a live clinic.
- I brought in the wineries to sponsor events. It was a no-brainer win-win for our shared customers to have a tasting after the coaching sessions.
- Partnering with other coaches will bolster your credibility, especially if you're a new coach or just new in town.
- Being the go-to expert for a well-respected business speaks volumes. Make sure you make it easy for them to spread the word.
- As a young coach, partner up with coaches that already have traction and respect in the industry, it rubs off on you.
For those already actively collaborating...good on ya. Hopefully, this gives you some new ideas to try out.
To your success,
CoachNow Founder and former burnt-out coach