What’s the one way you should never build your group coaching program?
I’ve talked to a lot of coaches who want to create a group coaching program, but almost all of them make this mistake that you should always avoid if you want your group to succeed. Below (and in the video) we’ll cover why most coaches create programs that never get used.
Check out the video right here (and you’ll see the full transcript and notes below in this article):
We’ll also talk about…
- the ONE thing you should always do before you sign clients up for your programs.
- the ‘get paid first’ approach to group coaching programs.
- how to eliminate the “will my program sell?” worry.
- why selling your program for more money gets easier over time.
Why Most Coaches Create Programs That Never Get Used
00:51 The right development process for a program, including a coaching program, or a product, is you never create the program or product first. That is the wrong (I hate to say wrong because that is not “personal development speak”) way to do this.
01:11 You show me a coach who created their product before they went out and offered it, marketed it, sold it, et cetera, and I’ll show you a coach who probably created the wrong product… and probably a product that was a waste of their time.
That product probably failed.
01:28 There are coaches that have hoards of books and programs in their closet, and these products will never get used… because they created a program without actually “putting it out there”, offering it, and seeing who would buy it first.
01:42 The development process you want to go through?
The ONE Thing You Should Always do Before You Sign Clients up For Your Programs
The closest I get to actually creating a program before we actually have paying clients for the program… would be creating an outline, maybe a 1 or 2 page outline that says, “Here’s what’s included. Here’s what we’re going to cover.”
02:02 That’s where all the work goes in before people sign up.
- the marketing material
- the outline for the design of the program (the basics of the program)
- what the program’s going to include
…That doesn’t take a lot.
That’s a half hour, maybe an hour, to figure out what you want to have in it.
02:20 But you’re not actually creating the ENTIRE PROGRAM.
You’re just saying, “Here’s what I want to have in it,” and then from that you can create an outline, or a teaser, or a promotional work that will actually:
- invite people to join the program
- talk about the benefits of the program
- discuss why they should be in the program, who it’s for, etc.
- naming the program
…the basic marketing of that program.
02:51 Once you’ve got something like that together, that’s when you want to go to market and say,
Hey, guys, here it is! You can do this program. It’s coming up at this time in the future, and if you want to sign up for it, it’s this much money!”
Hey, if you want to sign or you want more information, then get a free session with me, and we’ll work together and see if you’re a fit for the program, and make sure you get some value there as well.”
…something like that.
03:16 And then you sign people up for that program.
Why You Should Get PAID For Your Coaching Program BEFORE You Build The Program
You really should actually get paid for the program before you create the program. Because people (your customers) are going to vote with their wallets, and if their vote is that…
they don’t want that program,
and you don’t get paid,
and you spent a year building that program
…that is not a good use of your time.
I mean, it’s a lesson learned, but, yeah, that’s very bad. Bad, bad, bad.
One Big Problem You’ll Need to Solve When Using The ‘Get Paid First’ Approach
03:46 So you sell the program, get people to buy the program. Now, there is an issue here, which is that if Customer #1 buys the program today (let’s say it’s a group program or something where it’s more than just a one-on-one type of thing) and you don’t make any more sales for two months…
…then Customer #1 is going to be sitting there waiting for their program to start, and that can create some issues.
04:17 So for group programs that can be an issue. But let’s say you make a product…
You want to sell it for $200 or $250, and you’re thinking,
Gosh, if I spent two weeks making this product, but I can make $2,000 a year every year on this product, then that means after a year or two, I made $1500 a week on the work that I’ve put in and then, after that, it’s gravy… it’s profit. So I need to sell, let’s say, six of the product over some period of time.”
05:03 Let’s say you give yourself a couple of months to presell the product and you get two or three people in, and then you go ahead and say,
Hey, that gives me a good sign that I could sell more of this product, so let me build the product. I’m going to go and take it to market again and sell another three, four, or five units of this product, and now I’ve made almost $2,000 already this year… and I knew I could probably expect it.”
What NEVER to do When Creating Your Products And Group Coaching Programs
05:28 So you’re doing a bit of a test market to take the temperature of what kind of sales can you expect from that product, program, or whatever it is. That’s definitely the right approach.
You basically never want to build something and put a bunch of time into building it until you actually sell it.
You want to sell it before you actually put it out there.
How to Eliminate The ‘Will my Program Sell’ Worry
05:56 There are some detailed logistics to how you roll out a product. Like when we built the Quickstart program, the Quickstart Bootcamp, the first time we sold that product, it was a bonus for a members’ program called “Master Coach Council”.
06:22 Quickstart was not sold as a separate product. It was sold as a bonus for that program, and that program was one where we could put out a video each month, and then do a webinar. So I didn’t have to build anything to get people into that program.
06:37 Over time I published the Quickstart program, and after a year or so of already getting paid for that content, I separated that product out.
I then sold it separately, and that product sold very well.
06:51 But I had a bit of a test market, I was being paid for my work, and I was able to generate other content on the way to separating out different products and marketing it separately. So then I just had to put the work into marketing it, which is a lot less work than building the product itself.
07:07 There are all sorts of logistics and mechanics to how you might manage the timing of the promotion, the sales, and then the delivery of whatever it is that you’re creating, but I would tell you this…
If it’s a live coaching program, as long as you’re going to do one-on-one coaching within that program and then include content, you really just need to get a couple of clients. You could probably justify building the program and doing at least some test marketing.
07:38 If you’re going to do a group coaching-type of program or a group training program, that could be a little bit more dicey.
Because you may want to have four, five, six, or seven-plus people in that program before you start it.
That means that you’ve got to really hit the ground running and promote the crap out of that thing to know that you’ve got a good test to see if nobody buys, or just one person… versus five, six, or seven people, and now you’re in the ballpark of being able to start the program fairly quickly.
How to Offer a New Group Coaching Program at an Introductory Price
08:11 Another thing you could do is offer it at an introductory price.
Let’s say you want to sell the program for $250 eventually.
When you first created the program, people may not believe that it is necessarily as valuable as you say it is, so you give an introductory price.
Maybe sell it originally for $99, just this first time.
08:34 But if you make five, six or seven sales, you made some money… It pays for you building that program and offering that program.
Why Selling Your Coaching Program For More Money Gets Easier Over Time
The next time you market the program:
- you know more about how to market it
- you’ve made mistakes and you’ve learned from those mistakes
- you’ve already done it before so you’ve got case studies and testimonials
…now you’ve got even more ammunition to sell that program for $200 or $300 at that point.
08:57 So there are all sorts of different kinds of growth paths that you can take with creating a product, but remember…
never create a product until you first promoted, tested the waters, and proven that there is demand for that product.
You just never know until you promote it first.
The Development ‘Lineage’ From 1 on 1 Coaching to Large Scale Products
09:17 Developing products? That’s a whole different psychology… another animal altogether.
Generally, the development process goes like this:
You start with one-on-one coaching, because you could fail to enroll any other clients, yet you could still get away with that, because your first client doesn’t know that you don’t have other clients. They’re just working with you (in a silo) and it’s fine with them.
09:39 You build up a certain amount of clients one on one, and then you make the leap over to running a group coaching program and getting enough clients into a group to economically justify running that group.
The economics of a group coaching program can be really, really preferable to one-on-one coaching, but you do need:
- enough leads
- enough of an audience
- enough marketing power
…to pull that off.
So usually starting with a one-on-one approach is the easiest thing for starters… and then you move on to groups later.
10:10 Once you’ve run those groups for a while, you’ll see commonalities around what your clients need and want. You might next decide to build a training that goes along with that group or that you sell separately to that group.
That’s another level of specifying exactly what people are going to learn… what coaching you’re going to offer them. That’s much more specific compared to an open-ended group coaching program.
10:29 Once you’ve built a training that offers specific tutorials and information, you could actually convert that live training (whether it’s virtual or not) into a physical product, or a virtual product (an online product). That’s yet another layer or another level of development for the kind of coaching that you can offer people.
10:53 I hope you took some great value out of this tutorial today. What’s your experience with group coaching? Does it work for you? Why or why not?
What’s your plan now that you’ve watched this video?
I’d love to hear your feedback so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions.
If you’re still interested in starting your own group coaching program, training, or even a home study product, but you’re a bit intimidated about it, I can understand. The first time I built a group program, it was very nerve wracking, because I was thinking,
Do I have enough leads? Do I have enough relationships? Can I get people invest in this? How is this going to look to people if I offer this and I don’t make enough sales to justify doing it?”
The good news is that there are some approaches that will give you the best chance of winning in that process, and I have a special video training that discusses exactly that, “How to Build, Promote and Run Group Coaching Programs“.
- the logistics of balancing the building, promotion, and delivery of these types of programs
- the timing and psychology involved
- more details on how you might want to approach the process of developing your own group coaching and training products and programs
Jeffrey T. Sooey
CEO, JTS Advisors
Founder, Coaches Training Blog community