Research Paper created by Mel Kaario
(Life Coaching for Men, CANADA)
Table of Content
- Statement of Purpose and Introduction
- The Challenge of Getting New Clients
- A Solution: Trade and Barter
- Benefits of Trade and Barter for the Coach
- The Growth of Trade and Barter in Today’s Economy
Purpose: To show that building a coaching practice with trade and barter as payment options will contribute to the growth and success of a coaching business
Definitions: (from dictionary.com)
Barter: To trade by exchange of commodities rather than by the use of money. Trade: An exchange of items, usually without payment of money
Coaching is a business, and like any new business the start-up phase comes with a number of challenges. In addition, beginning your coaching practice in an economy where funds are tight in many parts of the world only adds to the difficulties of a hoped for swift and profitable ramp-up stage for the new coach.
In this research paper I hope to show that accepting cash for payment is not the only option open to the coach. Trade and barter as payment are, in today’s business environment readily and widely accepted by many service businesses. And, acquiring new clients, even if it is done through trade and barter can have long term benefits to the coach for growing and establishing their business.
The Challenge of Getting New Clients
Steve Mitten, President of the ICF in 2005 has this to say about new coaches who are just beginning their practices; “If you’re like most coaches, you were drawn to this profession because you like helping people. But the truth is you can’t help many people if you don’t stay in business. It’s an unfortunate fact that way too many good coaches struggle to fill their practices. It’s also a fact that not every one is cut out to succeed in self- employment.” (Steve Mitten 2011)
As stated by Mr. Mitten, people are generally drawn to coaching because they like helping people, and the fact is they may be very talented and passionate coaches, but the challenge of making contact with potential clients and converting them into a client willing or even able to pay cash is very real. Sales, marketing and converting prospects into clients is an integral part of the private coaching practice. A new coach may have a sound marketing plan, and a website that gets it’s fare share of visitors that are qualified and even interested in enquiring about their services, but converting them into a paying client becomes a difficulty when they do not have the funds to pay or they are somewhat hesitant to choose a new coach because they lack experience.
A Solution: Trade and Barter
Trade and barter as a payment option significantly lowers the barrier to client conversion as payment does not require cash which may be in short supply. Additionally they may have other resources available to trade or barter that may be attractive or useful to the coach. The benefit to this transaction is that it allows both parties to save cash resources for things they would have to pay for otherwise and they both get what they want, the client receives coaching and the coach receives a client and potentially much more.
A new coach or in some cases even a well established coach will spend much of their time marketing their services in addition to the actual process of coaching. When a coach in engaged in the marketing of their services, a conversation or other form of communication with a perspective client is indeed a precious opportunity, something a coach wants to take full advantage of. If a need for coaching is present and a desire to move forward is established then payment is the next step. However, if a cash transaction or payment plan is not viable and if the coach and client can come to an equitable agreement on a trade for resources (the coach provides their skill and knowledge as the coach and the client with their available resource) the coach has themselves a new client.
Trade and barter can greatly improve conversion rates of the prospect/coach conversation into a new client. Conversion rates can be described as a percentage of perspective client communications or conversations that convert into new clients (sales). As an example; Traditional cash for services model: 10 communications or conversations with a prospect might result in 2 clients. This is a 20% conversion rate. Trade and Barter options might double the conversion rate to 4 out of 10 for 40% or even greater. What does this mean for the coach? How can using trade and barter as an option to acquire a new client be a sound business decision?