Objections are a fact of life for most business coaches. Potential clients will come up with excuses. Your goal is to overcome those excuses to help them to grow.
It would be nice to think that every potential client recognises what you bring to the table. As a business coach, you likely have years of experience. You’ve probably operated your own business and you’ve coached others to achieve success.
You even have all of the numbers to prove it.
And yet, you still face objections from potential clients. Despite the fact that you add proven value to businesses, some clients still find it difficult to invest in themselves.
That’s can be a major concern, especially for new business coach.
Like any business you need to build a healthy client base to keep your own business running well. Handling objections and truly communicating the value you bring to the time is therefore critical for your success.
The value that you bring to the table is something you need to identify within yourself, whether you are part of a business coaching franchise or not. However, this article aims to help you with some of the common objections every business coach will receive at some point in their career. Plus, we’re going to look at some ActionCOACH-approved techniques to overcome those objections.
But first, it’s important that you understand why you get these objections in the first place.
Why Might You Get Coaching Objections?
Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first.
An objection isn’t a personal slight against you as a business coach. Potential clients aren’t necessarily looking at you and deciding that you can’t do the job.
Instead, they’re approaching the process from a business perspective.
As a coach, you offer a premium service. You have a set of skills that offer value to your clients. As such, you’re going to charge an appropriate amount for access to those skills.
That’s a root cause for many of the objections that you’ll face. Business owners will always cast a close eye over any major and repeated expenses. When they’re struggling, they’re especially wary of taking on new expenses.
Remember that most of your potential clients are in a difficult position. They wouldn’t have started to consider a business coach in the first place if they weren’t.
So, there’s a natural aversion to spending more money that grows into several of the objections listed below.
There’s also an intangibility to coaching that you may need to overcome. Potential clients often don’t understand exactly what you do to help them. That’s something that you’re going to have to communicate to them over the course of trying to bring them on board.
The article will dig into some specific strategies for objections below. However, transparency is key here, as ActionCOACH business coach Mark Blume points out:
“I always speak the truth. What I promise is what I deliver. I only ever make agreements with myself and others that I am willing and intend to keep.”
Solidifying what you have to offer is the counter to the intangibility that clients fear.
Even so, these two reasons combined often feed into the objections below. Now, let’s examine some of the most common excuses you might face and look at some ways to deal with them.
Objection #1 – I’m Not Interested
This is perhaps the most common objection you’ll face. A business owner may think that they’re doing fine without you. In many cases, they probably are.
This leads to them rejecting your offer without even considering what you have to offer.
The key to overcoming this objection lies in education. The “not interested” response comes from a lack of understanding about what a business coach does and how you can benefit their business. Business coaching is ultimately about getting the business owner to be working on his business not in it. So respond to the objection with education to show the prospect why they should let you help them take their business from good to great.
As a coach you’re there to empower the business owner to make intelligent decisions.
Here’s one way our business coaches handle the “I’m not interested” objection:
That’s fine, I appreciate that but can I just ask have you heard of business coaching before? Well, I’m sure as a business owner you keep an open mind to ideas that can help your business, so do you mind me asking what aspect of what we do puts you off?
Objection #2 – I Don’t Need a Coach
This one’s similar to the “not interested” response. However, it tends to come from a more personal space.
The business owner feels almost slighted by the suggestion that someone else could improve how they run their business. They’ve built it from the ground up, been running it for years and they understand their industry.
What could a business coach bring to the table that they don’t already have?
This is your chance to educate your prospect about what a business coach does. One great way to overcome this objection is by referencing back to a sport and asking the question, how many successful sports players do you know that don’t have a coach?
After all, industry expertise does not always equate to business expertise. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can open the client’s eyes to new ways of doing things.
Objection #3 – I Don’t Have Time/I’m Too Busy
This is one of the more frustrating coaching objections you will receive. After all, this is one of the problems that you’re looking to help the prospect solve.
So many business owners find themselves buried in work that they can’t even see something that will benefit them in the long run.
To overcome this objection, you need to empathise with the client and show them that you understand the issue because it’s one that many of your clients face. Then act as a coach and unpack the time issues, ask them questions like - Is it always like that for you or is this just a particularly busy time? How much time do you spend working in the business? Really? Would you sooner work fewer hours?
Let your prospect identified that if he/she doesn’t do anything to change their situation that it’s always going to be the same and that they need to invest some time to gain more time in the long run.
Objection #4 – It’s Too Expensive/I Don’t Have a Big Budget
As a business coach, this is one objection you’re going to run into from time to time.
This objection is often used by your prospects when they don’t see a combination of the value in your business coaching services and what you have to offer.
One of our ActionCOACH business coaches has an interesting way of discussing a technique:
“I have a ladder I talk to clients about which is my Ladder to Profit or Improvement. I believe every step a client takes up this ladder moves them closer to Profit or Improvement on whatever they are measuring. The steps on the ladder from the bottom are first step up after being unaware is Aware, followed by Test and Measure, Analyse, Forecast and then Profit at the top.”
This coach will use this ladder to show what benefits he brings to the table. Then highlight a case of the ladder achieving what it says it can achieve. For example, one might discuss how it helped P&L improve annual turnover from $900,000 to $2.5 million.
These techniques make what you offer tangible and show that you get results. Emphasise that business owners need to invest money to make money. Then, show why investing in you leads to a healthier financial situation later on.
Objection #5 – Send Me an Email
At first glance, this may seem like a favourable response. The client appears interested and has requested more information.
However, they’ve asked for it in an email.
The problem here is that you have no idea what happens to that email once it’s sent. In many cases, potential clients use this request to subtly blow you off and end the conversation.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with sending emails containing supplementary information to clients. The key here is that you identify when the client’s using this as a way to end a conversation. If you haven’t had a chance to discuss what you do in more depth, it’s likely a way to blow you off.
Provide an alternative. Ask the client if they would perhaps want to book a strategy call at their convenience. Try to make it clear, without pushing too hard, that it takes a conversation to really understand what the business needs and how you can help.
Objection #6 – You Don’t Have Experience in my Industry
This objection often comes hand-in-hand with the “I don’t need coaching” objection. It’s also an understandable objection. You may not have any experience working in the specific niche that the potential client works in.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer value.
ActionCOACH shows you that the fundamentals of running a business cross over. Regardless of industry, it’s the systems and processes that you’ll help the client put into place that are most important.
As ActionCOACH business coach Phil Badura puts it:
“I always look to the system for a solution. If a challenge arises I use a system correction before I look for a people correction.
I follow the system exactly until a new system is introduced.”
That’s the point you should put to the client. Business coaching isn’t necessarily about industry expertise.
It’s about business expertise.
ActionCOACH business coach Kate Muldoon says:
Not having the industry knowledge allows you as a coach to look at the business from a different perspective and challenge your clients thinking with strange questions, because as a coach you don't know what is NOT possible.
Many business owners are technicians first. They’ve offered the service for years and they understand it inside and out. Your role is to help them move away from being the technician and into the role of business owner and leader.
Here is one way ActionCOACHes use the knowledge above to deal with this objection.
That’s a good question. I may not have worked in your industry, and actually, that’s my strength! You see Action Coaches are highly trained in the overall business and marketing systems that make any business successful. What I do is add business knowledge to your industry knowledge to help you achieve better results, either in terms of your time, your team or your income...
Objection #7 – They Don’t Like Uncomfortable Questions
The potential client won’t necessarily tell you that they don’t like the questions you’re asking.
You’ll have to figure it out from their responses. If they’re evasive and constantly trying to move you onto the next subject, this suggests they’re about to object.
Many people don’t like having to confront their weaknesses. But as other ActionCOACH business coach points out, it’s a crucial part of the process:
“You have to keep pushing clients out of their Comfort Zone and into their Learning Zone, that’s where their Growth is and that’s where as Coaches our Growth is. Clients will thank you for the things they couldn’t have done by themselves.”
This coaches advice offers some insight into how to confront this objection. You need to make it clear that the uncomfortable questions aren’t intended to humiliate the client. You recognise their expertise and how hard they’ve worked to get the business to where it is.
Instead, the uncomfortable questions are a way to help the potential client learn new things.
Look out for the signs that a client’s uncomfortable with your line of questioning. If you notice an issue, confront it. Be empathetic and show them that you understand how difficult it is to face the hard questions.
Don’t just keep plugging away with the questions when there’s a clear comfort issue. This will lead to the potential client gravitating away from you.
Objection #8 – I Don’t Want to Tie Myself into a Contract
This is a common objection from people who want to try a business coach for a short period of time. Usually, this objection comes because they’re unsure about what you offer and don’t want to commit money until there’s a proven result.
How you overcome this objection depends on the contract situations that you offer.
If you offer rolling monthly contracts you already have the ideal tool for overcoming this objection.
However, many business coaches prefer to create multi-month contracts. If that’s the case, it’s important that you explain why you want to go down this route.
You may also set conditions in the contract. For example, you could promise to achieve X, Y, and Z for the client in a certain amount of time. If you fail, the client has the option to terminate the contract early.
Use your proof to show the client that you’ve achieved consistent results over longer periods for other clients. Your aim is to raise their confidence levels in you so that the idea of signing a contract doesn’t scare them.
Objection #9 – My Business is Too Small for Coaching
Many small business owners have a misconception regarding how big their business needs to be to have a business coach. Believing they’re too small results in one of the most common coaching objections.
This belief also leads to them misunderstanding the role you’ll play and what services you are able to offer. Many coaches offer both group coaching and one-to-one coaching. Group coaching gives smaller businesses the opportunity to afford business coaching and from there build their way up into one-to-one coaching.
This “too small” mentality is something that you need to help the client move away from in order for them to grow into their true potential..
From there, you can talk about how your job is to help the business grow into the “large enough” business that the client envisions.
The Final Word
Even the most successful business coaches face regular objections from potential clients. No matter how much proof of results that you offer, potential clients will always have their own fears which will hold them back.
Your goal is to help them to overcome those fears and see why hiring a business coach is the right move for them.
This article covered some of the most common coaching objections that you’re likely to hear. Use the advice offered above to help you to overcome these objections. Show your proof, demonstrate your integrity, and empathise with potential clients.
Prove to them that you understand the reasons behind their coaching objections. Then, educate them appropriately to help them understand why they need to see past those objections.
Of course, you’re not alone in your effort. ActionCOACH offers a system and a dedicated community of business coach who can help you to overcome objections. Plus, we have systems and processes that will also help you to find more clients.
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