Local Matters: 5 Facts You Need to Know About Face-to-Face Coaching
Do you want to build an international clientele base? Do you want to work from the comfort of your home office with clients spanning a number of timezones? You can. It is possible and many coaches have done exactly that. But that’s not the focus of today’s blog post.
Today, I want to tell you why we can’t ignore face-to-face coaching. Clients want it and you should be prepared to give it to them. Here’s why:
1. 66% of coaching happens in-person
There are so many fans of phone coaching but guess what, according to the ICF’s 2012 Global Coaching Study, two out of three coaches work face-to-face with their clients. That’s pretty significant proof that clients want to work with their coaches in-person.
2. Noomii referral clients prefer local coaches
For clients that are in the Noomii referral program, we are frequently referring a local coach and a non-local coach. Guess what? Our data suggests that local coaches have a 27% higher likelihood of getting hired. Local matters. Even when we explain that coaching mostly happens over the phone and that it’s better to get a good fit than someone in your neighbourhood, the local coach has an edge.
3. Search engines reinforce that local is better
Over the last few years, we’ve seen search engines evolve to provide personalized results for each and every person. In other words, if you and I type in the exact same search phrase, we are likely to get different results. Why? Because Google and the other big search engines have learned that people want that. If you google the phrase “life coaches”, the results are going to be local results. They know you live in Seattle or Toronto or wherever you’re from without you having to type “life coaches in seattle”.
4. People crave face-to-face connections
Despite the explosion of the web and the global connectivity that it has facilitated, people still crave face-to-face, in-person connections. We have attended BlogWorld, a major blogging and internet marketing conference three times and each time, some of the most successful bloggers have insisted that much of their online success is due to offline interactions.
We’ve seen the same thing with coaches. Some of the most successful coaches with international clients built their businesses through local and in-person connections (more on that in a future post).
5. Prospective clients assume coaching is done in-person
The closest thing to coaching is therapy and therapy is mostly done in-person. Also, people often hire local lawyers, dentists, personal trainers, and other service professionals. Why wouldn’t they think to hire a local coach? Oh ya, wait a minute. They do think to hire a local coach.
The bottom line is this: We should give clients what they want
If your want more clients, you could probably benefit by looking in your area. Sure, there are way more people outside of your area but those who are more likely to hire you are close by. Go for coffee with acquaintances, take neighbors out for lunch, and offer them in-person sample sessions. Build those relationships and then ask for the business (or a referral).
Think of building your business similar to sailing. If you want to go far, you need to put out a big sail and catch a lot of wind. You can sail upwind but it’s harder, especially when you just start out. So point your nose downwind and catch those local clients that are right in your neighbourhood. That will likely lead to more international clients anyway.
As I said earlier in this post, it is possible to fill your practice with international clients. We’ll share everything we know about that in a future post. Our findings might surprise you. Until then, stay tuned by subscribing to this blog. Check the “subscribe” button at the top of the right hand column of this screen (please note that you need to be registered for Noomii to subscribe). If you are browsing on a tablet or mobile device, the subscribe checkbox is below.