Writing a convincing proposal can be the most important step in your sales process as a coach. The time has come to pitch your services and sell yourself!
I know these words make many of you cringe. Probably none of us pursued a coaching career because selling was our ultimate calling. But you also know that your good vibes and charm aren’t enough to close the deal and get you more clients.
In this guide, we’ve put together everything you need to know about writing a winning proposal that, if you’ve done everything right, your clients can’t refuse.
So let’s start at the beginning.
When Is It Actually Time to Drop Your Coaching Proposal?
If you choose to use one, your coaching proposal should be sent to your prospect within 1-3 days after your discovery session.
Never send a proposal before you actually talk to your client personally and explore what they need. The discovery session is for both of you to see whether there’s synergy between you (especially if you’re a life coach).
It’s where your prospect decides if you’re the kind of professional they want to work with. It’s also the time you judge whether your qualifications are right for them and if they’re the kind of client you’re willing to work with.
This is a gentle reminder to get clear on your ideal client profile and really use these discovery sessions not just to make an impression but to assess who you’re about to take on as a client. It’s a two-way street.
Also, notice that we mentioned one discovery session, in singular. If you offer multiple free clarity sessions to your prospects, you’re technically working for free because you’re not utilizing that one session effectively.
The only reason you should ever offer a second discovery session is if, for some unforeseen reason, you or your client needs to interrupt the session and leave before you can cover everything.
Once you get a sense of your client’s needs, assess if they fit your ideal client profile. Once you’re confident you have just the right package for them, it’s time to drop the proposal on the table.
You can also skip the proposal and send them straight to your landing page, booking page, or coaching “shop” page (here’s an example of a coaching shop) which Paperbell makes really easy! But you’re here because you wanted to dig into proposals, so let’s keep going.
It’s best to already mention your package to them during the discovery session and describe your vision for the coaching relationship. After that, follow up with an email in the next 1-3 days while the experience is still fresh.
Here’s what to include in this email.
What to Include in a Winning Coaching Proposal
Whether you send a short email summary or a two-page brochure with your packages, your coaching proposal should always include these 6 simple elements.
The key is to know which parts of your offer you should personalize and which ones to templatize. This way you can make them effective and authentic, while saving some time for yourself.
So let’s look at how to use each of these elements and why they’re important.
Reference Your Discovery Call
It’s a nice personal touch to tell your prospects that it was great meeting them or to thank them for their time. A much better way to start off an email than “So here’s how much I charge,” isn’t it?
Something like “I enjoyed our conversation the other day” or “thank you for taking the time to tell me your story” would do. You don’t need to overcomplicate it, and you definitely shouldn’t make up something that you don’t honestly think about your client. But starting off with this gives them a reminder of the experience and establishes a rapport with them.
Tell Them (Why) They Qualify
Your prospects should know that this is not a copied and pasted email you’re sending to every single soul on the planet (ahem, it isn’t right? Just checking…) but a thought-through plan for their unique problems.
Tell them what made you think that their challenges are the perfect match for a specific package of yours, that you’re suggesting for them to take. Mention the intention or goal your coachee defined for themselves in the discovery session, and explain how the package will help them get exactly there.
Share Your Coaching Packages With Them
From here on, your proposal can be templatized, which means you only need to write it once for each package or client profile and reuse it with minor tweaks (Phew!) Ideally, you should share only one package with your new prospect, based on the exact solution they’re looking for.
If you’ve done the work on structuring your coaching packages well, you’ll have an easy job here. Add a summary to your email or share a more fleshed-out version of your package in a deck or on a page of your website.
Your package should always include the duration, the outcome, the format, and the pricing of your coaching program. If your prospect qualifies for a discount, this is the time to tell them about their special rate or give them a promo code for your checkout page.
If you offer slightly complex packages with a combination of formats or a semi-automated program flow, it’s worth including an FAQ at the end of your presentation or page. Don’t make up general, self-explanatory questions to seem more professional. Only use this section if you actually notice the same questions being asked by prospects before (or even after) signing up for your packages.
Outline The Next Steps
After you’ve pitched your irresistible offer, you need to answer the obvious question: Now what?
Guide your new client on how they can get started with the process, such as making the payment, signing the contract, and booking the appointment for their first session.
With Paperbell, you can save a whole lot of explaining and back and forth by sending them a single link that includes their contract, payment, and scheduling. Once they sign with you, they can pay the fees right then and there and schedule their first session ONLY once that’s done.
There are always a few pitfalls while landing a new client, but a complicated process shouldn’t be one of them.
Give Them A Deadline
The purpose of this is not to put pressure on your client but to once again set your own boundaries as a professional service provider. Boundaries that your clients need to respect in order to work with you.
You don’t necessarily have to use scarcity marketing (although it does work), you can simply ask them to get back to you before a certain date to ensure this offer with the same price is still available for them. You can also set a deadline for a package to expire automatically using Paperbell.
Your time is valuable, and you want to work with people who are decisive and committed to their transformation, so it’s only fair.
Now that we’ve established all the rules in the world, don’t forget to be open to their questions too.
If you’ve done a great job with your proposal, there probably won’t be any. And if there are, you can add them to your FAQ or take it as feedback and simplify your proposal.
Once these 6 elements are present in your proposal, it’s time to sign off and wait for their reply.
Winning Coaching Proposal Template
Here’s a sample proposal for you to use and personalize for your own business.
Of course, this is by no means the only way to pitch your services, and you might do this very differently if you are just starting to offer sessions VS if you are a seasoned coach launching your best-selling services. But this simple template should be able to get you started.
I really enjoyed our conversation yesterday. Thank you for taking the time to tell me about your [AREA OF COACHING] goals!
Based on what you told me about your [AREA OF COACHING], I believe the best strategy to achieve these goals is through [SOLUTION].
I have worked with clients like you who [CLIENT’S PROBLEM], and over the years I’ve developed a proven strategy to [SOLUTION].
Here’s what this would look like/here’s a recap of the [PACKAGE NAME] Program I shared with you during our conversation yesterday:
To get started with our collaboration, all you need to do is sign this standard agreement and pay the advance via Paperbell.
[LINK TO YOUR PACKAGE]
Once this is done, you can schedule the first session right away, on the same page.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Looking forward to working with you,
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Coaching Proposal
Here are the 3 most common pitfalls of writing a proposal about your coaching services and how to avoid them.
Being Too “Salesy”
In a world where ad-blindness is a skill kids grow up with and we’re tired of being sold to, authenticity is more important than ever. If you don’t want to sound like a car salesman selling the magic pill of transformation, stay honest and down-to-earth in your communication.
Treat every prospect like a new relationship, not just like a customer. Being straightforward about who you are and what your process is, as a coach, is all you need to do, and then let go of the rest. Believe in what you offer, and the right people will say yes to you.
Writing a Vague Proposal
One of the most common mistakes coaches make is not addressing their client’s problem and articulating the solution they offer to solve it. What sets a “nice-to-have” coach apart from the only professional they can possibly think of working with, is being super specific on the outcome.
Draw from the testimonials of your previous clients, and use their own language to articulate what your packages really offer.
Forgetting To Follow Up
We left the most important one for the end. We tend to think that no answer means “no,” but actually an email can easily get lost in between the plethora of newsletters we sign up to, or get opened at a red light and then be forgotten in the whirlwind of a busy Monday.
Following up is not desperate. Read that again.
A one-line email is enough to bump up the conversation in your prospect’s mailbox and ask for a definite yes or no. It might go like this:
“Hey Jay, I was wondering if you were able to make a decision about the above? If you have any questions just let me know.”
That’s it. Keep it simple. Send this to your potential client before the deadline you defined in your proposal, and keep it to no more than two follow-up emails.
If you still don’t hear back from them, you can move on knowing you’ve done everything. And if you do, this simple gesture might turn that maybe into a yes, and to another story of transformation later on.