In the coaching industry today, coaches tend to have one primary complaint:
How can I stand out and attract ideal clients when there are SO MANY other coaches??
That’s a fair question given that in 2019 the global coaching industry was at $2.9 billion in revenue, with an estimate of 93,000 coaches across the globe in 2023 (and that’s just coaches that are certified and use that terminology!) The coaching industry is pretty crowded, and often is a confusing space for a potential client to identify the right coach for their life or business.
Here’s another stat worth knowing: on average, professional coaches make $42,370 dollars a year.
Over the last two decades I’ve worked with countless impact-driven coaches and service providers who have not made more than $27,000…ever.
Which brings up a good question.
Why do talented people who have lots of expertise struggle to make a good living making a difference in OTHER people’s lives and businesses?
Because quite often not every potential client really gets what a coach can do for them.
This is where being a “specialist” over a “generalist” makes a significant difference in a coach’s ability to attract ideal clients (and get paid more.)
I struggled with this, a lot, for the first decade as a business coach. I have so many strengths, and have created tools for every area of business growth, that I didn’t want to “limit” myself to just one type of solution.
But, then I started to see the cost of being a generalist. Here’s a few of the signs, in case you are having these challenges too:
- Too many different solutions creates buyer confusion. When Sam asked me what my key offering was. Sam was someone who bought a strategy session, and wanted to continue to work with me, but when he landed on my “Coaching Programs” page he was confused by too many different types of solutions. You know what they say about a confused mind (in case you don’t, they do not buy.)
- Lots of different offerings means expensive marketing. When you have lots of offerings, you’ll spend 3 – 5x the time and money on your marketing efforts. If you are a mega-empire, that might be okay, but if you are a solopreneur or wanting to keep business simple, being a generalist can create an operations nightmare.
- The marketing message isn’t compelling. If you have lots of different people you can work with, you may discover that you need different messaging that speaks to each of their unique needs. Not only is this difficult to keep straight in your visibility strategy, multiple messages can become confusing to your market.
- A generalist rarely has the same perceived authority as a specialist. Authority plays a role in what kind of opportunities to speak, to collaborate as well as how your potential clients perceive the value of your offerings (hint: authority positioning will often help you command higher prices than your competitors too.)
- A complicated business with lots of offerings can easily burn out your team. Whether you have virtual assistants or employees, a complicated business with lots of offerings and moving parts can quickly lead even the most dedicated team member to feeling overwhelmed.
Six Reasons Why Specializing is a Smart Differentiator in a Crowded Market
- You instantly elevate your authority. When you lean into one key area or market niche, it signals to your audience that you know your stuff and are an expert they can trust to solve their problem.
- Your marketing will perform better as you can laser in your messaging to who you solve a specific problem for.
- You’ll attract better qualified leads as your potential clients understand what you can do for them.
- You’ll get more referrals from clients and peers – because they know what you do and how you can solve problems for their clients and community.
- You’ll be able to charge a premium price, which will help you boost your revenues. Specialists tend to make 2 – 5x more than generalists do.
- You’ll save operational and delivery costs because you can streamline to focus on being good at ONE KEY THING.
How to Hone In Your Specialty Now
If you haven’t made the leap from solving lots of problems to being known as the authority in one key area, consider starting with one of three “specialist” strategies:
Option 1: Focus on solving one primary problem for a broader audience.
If you have a track record of helping your clients streamline their lead tracking process so they stop losing leads and make more sales, you could specialize in this methodology and offer it across different markets. This would allow you to streamline your process, focus on one key marketing message and optimize it across multiple channels what experience a similar issue with their lead tracking.
Option 2: Narrow down your market niche to solve a few common problems for one key type of client.
If you tend to attract the same type of client over and over (or just really like working with a specific niche) then build a strong offering suite to deliver to one specific type of client. For instance, one of my clients realized that her marketing performs best with mid-life women who are experiencing multiple issues with fatigue and burnout that many busy professional women with menopause experience. Once she made the shift to focusing on this niche and their unique needs, her offerings started to convert better.