Marketing Venue: The Coaching Salon

In our September issue, we discussed various marketing strategies you can use to increase visibility for your coaching business. If you chose “speaking” as one of the communications channels you favor, you’ll also want to check out a related opportunity: The Coaching Salon.

Choosing a Location

No, I’m not talking about renting office space in the back of your local beauty parlor. A Coaching Salon is a marketing event where one or more coaches collaborate to offer prospects sample coaching. Salons are hosted at any of a variety of locations that might share a target market with a coach, in exchange for increased walk-in traffic.

One of the biggest perks you get from these events is a steady stream of potential clients (where else can a coach get “walk-ins?”). Additionally, your credibility gets a boost, based on the participant’s existing relationship with the host.

Potential hosts could include, for example:

  • a bookstore
  • a coffee shop
  • a community center
  • a library

Getting Ready for Your Event

Once you’ve secured a venue, it’s time to get the word out. This is a great place to remember to ask for help. Remember, your presence can potentially help the business hosting you. Don’t be afraid to ask if they might be willing to post signs or advertise the event to their mailing list, for example. Also, consider having participating coaches promote the event on their websites and mailing lists.

On the day of the event, provide an easel with a poster promoting the event, or ask the host if they are willing to do so. Also, have forms available for people to join your mailing list. And don’t ignore the potential for cross-promotions between your business and the host, for example:

  • at a bookstore – ask the host to create a display of coaching or self-help related titles near the signs that advertise your event, or make a short presentation based on a pre-selected book they’ll display at the event
  • at a coffee shop – offer to have take-out menus or business cards at your table, and ask if you can put your brochures or cards near the register
  • for a non-profit host (like a community center or library) – offer to take donations at or near your table

Structuring Your Salon

If it’s well-planned, this kind of event can be a win-win-win: the host gets increased traffic and business, the coaches get increased exposure and the prospective clients get a sample of your services.

Consider structuring the event so that participants are coached in front of other participants and an audience. While this requires the volunteer to be willing to be coached “publicly,” it also gives you the chance to host a discussion about the coaching process after each demonstration finishes. This is an opportunity to address questions, concerns or even fears about the coaching process. And even though not every person who stops by will get a chance to be coached, don’t forget that “spectators” can sign up for your mailing list or request a sample session of their own!

At times, marketing can feel like a uphill climb, especially for a solopreneur. Consider banding together with like-minded coaches to offer a Coaching Salon. Chances are you’ll leave the event with a boost of confidence in your skills as a coach, new energy for your marketing efforts and, perhaps most exciting of all, a long list of warm leads!

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