How To Create A Program That Sells

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The excitement of putting together a new health coaching program is unbeatable. You’ve poured your heart, soul, and a whole lot of expert knowledge into this new program that is sure to change the lives of your clients.

But then… crickets. No one is interested. How could that be?!

Something I see often with new health coaches (and even some veterans) is that they’re creating these great new programs but aren’t getting nearly as many clients as they’d hoped for.

Have you ever spent months trying to get sign-ups, but feel frustrated because no one is biting?

The issue is almost always the same – the offer just isn’t quite right for the target audience.

As health coaches, we’re often too close to our business … and so knowledgeable about health topics … that it can be hard to step back and figure out what clients want or need to hear.

The answer is to approach program creation from a different perspective.

That’s exactly what I’m going to share with you today.

I’m going to show you exactly how to figure out what your ideal clients want so you can create offerings that are irresistible.

The 5-step process involves gathering feedback and using that information to shape your programs and offerings.

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Step 1 – Identify people who can give
you feedback

No matter what stage of business you’re at, you can find you people to talk to for some simple market research.

Your List

If you’ve been at this a while and have built up an email list, then start there. These are people who’ve signed up to hear from you and they’re interested in what you’re putting out into the world, so it only makes sense to get their input.

The people on your list are some of your biggest fans and if you create EXACTLY what they want, they’re likely to become your best clients too!

Create a survey in SurveyMonkey or Google Forms and send an email to your list letting them know that you’re looking for feedback.

Pro Tip: You’ll almost always get more helpful and in-depth responses and insights from talking to someone on the phone vs. just a survey or email response, so I recommend making the last question of your survey an ask if you can follow up with a phone call.

Past Clients

The people you’ve already worked with are a goldmine of information. Make a list of everyone you’ve enjoyed worked with and send them a note letting them know you’re doing some research for new programs and you’d love their input. Ask them to get on a 20 minute call.

Intake Forms & Client Notes

Tap into the information you already have. You most likely had your past clients fill out an intake form when they signed up to work with you. Look for clues about how they described their main pain points, their goals, and what they wanted to tackle first. Also dig through all of your notes from your time together and pull out any insights you can.

Your Ideal Clients

If you haven’t worked with many people yet, or are just getting started, you can speak to people who match the description of your ideal clients.

Here are few suggestions on where to find them:

    • Your network – If you know people personally who are similar to the people you want to work with, (like family, colleagues, or friends) ask them to have a chat or go for a coffee with you.


    • Facebook groups – Find groups on Facebook where your target audience is hanging out. Look through the posts to see how people are talking about their pain points. You can even ask people to get on the phone with you for a call – for the first 15 minutes you can interview them and ask them questions to help your research, and the last 15 minutes you can offer them free coaching in exchange for helping you out.A couple of notes on using Facebook groups:
      • Be sure to answer people’s questions and provide helpful and valuable info in the Facebook group too. People who only ask for things oin Facebook tend to get ignored.


      • While you can certainly do research in Facebook groups hosted by competitors, you don’t want to step on the host’s toes. For example, if you serve moms you can post in a mom’s group asking for help with your research, but don’t post in a group for moms led by another health coach or nutritionist.


  • Referral partners – ask your referral partners for their insights into the audience you both serve (if you don’t have any, this could be the opportunity to find some and do your research at the same time). Ask them what the top concerns or questions their clients/customers have when it comes to their health or nutrition.

Step 2 – Prepare your questions

Now that you’ve identified everyone you can reach out to, it’s time to define the questions you’re going to ask them.

Start by determining your goals for your research. Most likely you’re wanting to get a deeper understanding of what your clients and potential clients are looking for in a health coach.

You want to know what motivates them, what keeps them up at night, and what is holding them back from making the changes they desire.

What to ask in your survey

    • What’s your #1 goal right now in regards to your health?


    • What is your biggest struggle around your food, health and wellness? (make this one multiple choice – modify the list based on what you want to focus on with clients)
      • Weight loss
      • Managing diabetes
      • Increasing energy
      • Alleviating menopause symptoms
      • Sugar and carb cravings
      • Preparing health food, quickly & easily
      • Emotional & stress eating
      • Stress reduction
      • Other:


    • Is this something you have spent money (or would spend money) to get help with?(Note: You want them to say yes. Otherwise they aren’t an ideal client.)
      • Yes
      • No


    • If you could wave a magic wand and have one thing change in terms of your health and wellness, what would that be?


    • Which of the following are you most interested in? (choose one)
      • One-on-one support through private coaching with me
      • Support through an online group program, where you receive support from me and a community of like-minded women
      • Local, group program with a community of like-minded women, where we would meet in-person
      • Information about food, so that I can make changes on my own
      • Recipes & Meal plans
      • Cooking classes
      • I’m not ready to make changes quite yet
      • Other:


    • If you could ask me anything about health and nutrition, what would it be?


  • What is your name and email address? (So I can send you your gift: “insert gift”. Your gift will be emailed to you on insert date.)

What to ask your past clients:


    • Before we started working together, what was the main reason you sought me out?


    • What motivated you to sign up?


    • What were your major ah-has while working with me?


    • What did your really appreciate about the program?


    • What main results did you experience while working together?


    • What did you particularly like or dislike about the way the program was delivered? Anything you disliked about how it was delivered?


    • How could I improve the program in the future? Anything you’d love to see me add in or change?


    • How are you doing now? Are there any areas you’re wanting to improve in terms of your health and wellness?


  • If you could wave a magic wand, what type of program or experience would you like to see me offer?

What to ask ideal clients:

I highly recommend you ask these questions on a phone or skype call vs. a survey, as you’ll get much more valuable and richer information during a conversation.

    • What’s your #1 goal right now in regards to your health?


    • What is your biggest struggle around your food, health and wellness?


    • Is this something you have spent money (or would spend money) to get help with?(Note: You want them to say yes. Otherwise they aren’t an ideal client.)


    • If you could wave a magic wand and have one thing change in terms of your health and wellness, what would that be?


    • As you know, I’m not selling anything to you right now, but for my market research purposes, is [insert what they have said they struggle with most and want to change] something you’d be willing to invest in?(Note: you’re asking this question because you want to gather information from people who are looking for a solution to their problems and are ready to invest. If they’re not willing to invest, they’re not an ideal client and you don’t want “use” their answers and you can kindly end the conversation at this point.

      Also, note that often when someone isn’t willing to invest it means that the problem isn’t big enough – it isn’t causing them enough “pain” to motivate them to spend money on a solution.)


  • If you could have anything you want from a nutrition coach, what would that look like?(When you ask this question, start by keeping it very open-ended so you’re not “leading” their response. Based on what they share, you can then ask them targeted questions and get them to describe whether that would be one-on-one support, group program, in-person or online, what would they want to learn, would they want hands-on elements such as cooking classes or a pantry makeover. Would they want meal plans or recipes?)


  • If you could ask me anything about health and nutrition, what would it be?

Step 3 – Make the ask!

Email your list with a link to your survey. Email your contacts and ask them for a coffee chat or phone call. When asking for a phone call, be sure you make it clear that you’re not selling anything – that this is just to gather information.

Some tips when it comes to emailing out your survey…

Offer a free gift to everyone who completes the survey.
This will motivate people to take 5 minutes out of their busy day. Plus, it allows you to offer free valuable content that positions you as an expert. You don’t have to create something brand new. You could give away a handout you’ve already created or a document with 5 of your favorite healthy sweet treats.

Give a deadline.
In your emails, explain that in order to receive the gift, they must complete the survey by XX date. (This date should be 1 week after the first email is sent.)

Send out 2 emails.
We all need reminders! The second email should go out 6 days after the first email and remind your list that they have 1 more day to complete the survey and receive the free gift.

Step 4 – Take notes

Take meticulous notes when you’re on these calls so you can look back and pull insights.

You might think it’s better to listen intently during your call and take notes after, but trust me, you’ll forget details. You want to record their exact words, so it’s best to do it while they’re talking. Let them know that you’ll be taking notes during the call and apologize in advance for any awkward pauses.

Step 5 – Pull out insights and apply them to your business

Look for themes in your notes – the topics and phrases that come up in your surveys and phone calls repeatedly. This is what you want to pay attention to! Use this to make your programs more enticing to your ideal clients.

For example, if you kept hearing that people were afraid of the long term commitment, make a shorter program like a 7 or 21- day cleanse as an easy “yes” for people to test the waters with working with you.

Or, if past clients said they would have LOVED to have meal plans and recipes included, consider adding that to your program.

If you do a survey and people say they’re most interested in support with weight loss, be sure to offer a program that focuses on that and uses “weight loss” in the title.

Maybe you hear that potential clients want a lot of hand holding. That’s a key that they would be more likely to sign up for one-on-one coaching or a small group program with a lot of personal attention… Or you might hear that people are looking for a community. That would let you know that a group program would be a great fit.

Whatever those recurring themes were in your research, apply them to how you’re both delivering AND selling your programs.

PRO TIP: If you’re using the same language to sell your program that your audience is using when talking about what they want, they’ll recognize it, resonate with it, and feel like you’ are talking directly to them.

Following these 5 steps can save you tons of time and headaches when creating your offerings. Your audience will be more responsive – because they helped shape it!

When you’re creating something your audience really wants, it makes marketing and selling a whole lot easier.

Now I’d love to hear from you!
Do you have the sense that your offerings aren’t quite ‘hitting the mark’ when it comes to meeting your ideal clients wants/needs? Which of the ‘research’ methods I shared would be helpful to you? Share your thoughts/questions below so I can support you.

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