6 Acronyms Coaches Need to be Successful

As with most industries, acronyms abound in sales and marketing.

Most can be ignored, or Googled as and when you stumble across them.

But there are some that are so fundamental to running a successful coaching practice that you really should know what they are and why they are so crucial.

1. WIIFM (what’s in it for me?)

Each person who lands on your site is either consciously or far more likely unconsciously, asking themselves, what’s in it for me?

They don’t really care about you, they only care about how you can help them solve their problem or problems.

In sales, we refer to the WIIFM as a benefit statement for the goods or services we are willing to provide because it has to deliver a very specific benefit or benefits to the customer or client

It’s a critical component of AIDA (more in a moment).

With websites, as I say, it’s more commonly referred to as the WIIFM.

Your WIIFM should be clear and concise and be present on your home page, about page and social media profiles at the absolute minimum.

It’s easy to think your WIIFM is obvious because you know what you do, but it often isn’t.

I would say that at least 75% of coaching websites I look at have no clear WIIFM and it can be a fatal error.

To check if yours is so blindingly obvious you have to wear shades to even look at it, don’t look at it yourself.

You know the problems you help your clients solve and will think it’s obvious to everybody else too.

Rather, ask somebody who doesn’t know what you do to check out your website or social media profile and see if they are clear.

If they’re not, then you need to tweak your copy/headlines/tagline etc, until they are.

My WIIFM is that I help coaches get more paying clients.

Make sure yours is just as easy to understand.

Millie sleeping

2. AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action)

Every single sale passes through the AIDA framework, and any salesperson worth their salt will always know where a potential client is along the journey.

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to sell a Snickers bar, a coaching package, or a cruise liner, it will pass through these 4 stages.


The attention stage is relatively easy to get to.

Just go on any social media platform and use a pejorative term for a minority group, and you will soon see what I mean.

On second thoughts, please don’t.

That was just a way of helping you understand attention isn’t hard to achieve, but it has little value in and of itself.

More traditional ways of gaining attention are:

  • Social media
  • Cold calling
  • Traditional advertising
  • Emails
  • Commenting on blogs like this one
  • Getting interviewed
  • Producing and sharing content on social media
  • Attending Chamber of Commerce (or similar) meetings
  • Marching up and down your high street naked except for a strategically placed sandwich board

However, hundreds of daily things grab our attention without necessarily interesting us.

An advert for a $7 life coach training course grabbed my attention the other day on Facebook, but I wasn’t interested other than the laugh it gave me.

Because so many people and companies are trying to gain our attention, moving people to the next stage of interest is harder than it’s ever been.

People are busy, people are distracted, people are sceptical and/or cynical (that’s me), and people are bored with the same ole same ole sales tactics.


To gain interest, you have to be different, stand out (in a good way) consistently and you must demonstrate value again and again.

Then, presuming there is a need for coaching, that interest will turn into the desire to hire you.


That desire stage may last for seconds such as when my wife saw our latest puppy (see Millie above).

The gap between desire and action (telling me we were having her)  was about the same as the time it took her to pick Millie up.

Or it may last for weeks, months, or even years.

It took her about three months to finally move from desiring a puppy back in 1996 to acting and us getting one.

It may even stall, and a potential client never transitions from the desire to hire you to the action of doing so.

People can get stuck at (or never leave) the desire stage for any number of reasons, such as insufficient funds, lack of support from loved ones, shortage of time etc.


The final stage is action.

This is when the client decides that you are the coach for them and they say they want to move forward.

It doesn’t mean that the deal is closed because you have to maintain desire through the process of sending out the invoice and them paying it.

You also have to keep it going up until the first session to remove the chance of the dreaded buyer’s remorse in which a client has a change of heart.

AIDA is also used heavily in copywriting, especially on sales pages when you are looking to transition people through the sale process.

The headline is what grabs people’s attention.

The description of what you sell should build up interest and then desire.

And then the buy now ends the sales process.

3. CTA (call to action)

A CTA is the one thing you want the person landing on your page or reading your newsletter to do next.

Every newsletter you send out, or blog post you publish should have a CTA.

Similarly, every page on your website should have a CTA.

You should limit it to one or the same one multiple times if it’s a sales page, so people aren’t confused.

And it won’t (and shouldn’t) always be, a simple request for people to hire you.

Sometimes it will be more subtle such as click here to read more, leave a comment, or a request to follow you on social media.

If you don’t offer a CTA the people you have worked hard to engage will potentially drift off without discovering the full depths of your undoubted genius.

Wouldn’t that be a waste?


4. ROI (return on investment)

Your clients will not hire you if they cannot see a return on their investment.

It doesn’t need to be financial (although that makes things a lot easier).

If I can show you how I can help you gain clients worth an extra £10k to you, then it wouldn’t be hard to justify you investing £2k, right?

Money works best with ROIs not because everybody is money-minded and greedy, but because it’s easy for people to relate to.

Things like increased confidence, lowered stress levels and improved health can be difficult to quantify purely financially but not impossible.

Using stress as an example.

People will often spend fortunes on vacations to lower their stress levels, so saying something like:

‘Of course, you could spend £3k on a week in Portugal that may or may not lower your stress levels for a short period. 

Or, you could hire me for half that and lower them permanently.

Or even something as nebulous as confidence can be given a financial ROI:

‘Imagine walking into a room full of people relaxed and assured knowing you’re about to wow them with your talk whilst having a lot of fun.

And you get to do it over and over again.

What is that feeling worth to you?’

If that makes you feel icky, get over it.

You build an ROI so people can understand how you can help them and the value you bring, NOT to rip people off or manipulate them.

5. EAT (expertise, authority, trust)

If you cannot demonstrate EAT, then a bit like with ROI, nobody will hire you.


You must show you’re an expert in whatever niche you choose.

Would you want a heart bypass operation performed by somebody trained in paediatrics? 

Would you listen to somebody giving financial advice who was broke? 

And would you hire a business or marketing coach who had never built their own coaching business?

Of course not (although some do with the latter), you want an expert and this is why you must position yourself as one.

You don’t have to have done exactly what your client wants to do as I have, although that is highly beneficial.

If people don’t see you as at the bare minimum as an expert in coaching, they are unlikely to hire you.


Do you know why advertisers frequently dress people selling anything remotely medical on TV in white coats?

Because it demonstrates authority even when we know it’s fake.

Authority can be tricky to build for a coach because we lack coaching coats to slip on.

So you build it over time by growing a social media following, building a newsletter list and producing content.

And/or you can expedite the process by writing a book, or getting interviewed on podcasts, webinars, radio or TV.

Read the post 12 Ways to Get Coaching Clients Fast for more ways to build authority and get clients.


Expertise and authority go a long way in building the trust required to get people to hire you, but they aren’t usually enough on their own. 

Donal Trump was an expert at manipulating people.

He also had a job that gave him massive amounts of authority.

But I still didn’t trust the fucker more than the width of his stupid orange skin.

And I sure as hell was not going to hire him as my coach.

As well as being a good coach, you build trust by being you, and unapologetically you.

You also build it by being honest, looking to help people whenever you can, keeping your word and just not being a dick.

Ok, ok, so I can be a dick at times on social media, but I’m unapologetically me 😉

Tim and Helen

6. USP (unique selling proposition)

This often gets corrupted into a unique selling position or even a unique selling point, but they don’t mean the same thing.

Your proposition is active and something you present to your potential clients.

A position or point is passive and merely represents where/who you are.

I doubt there is any niche in coaching with only one coach working it, so by definition, your niche is not your USP.

Rather, you create a USP using a combination of your niche and your branding to stand out from the crowd and look truly unique.

A great USP removes your competition at a stroke and creates a blue ocean for you to swim in away from the feeding frenzy surrounding most coaches.

I’m not your typical marketing coach, as you can see from the above photo with my rather more attractive wife.

I’m almost 60, carrying a pound or two too many, swear like a trooper and don’t take life too seriously.

BUT, I have over 35 years of combined sales and coaching experience and have built two successful coaching practices.

When you couple what I have done with what I know and then throw in my personality (that isn’t for everybody by any means), then you can see I have a strong USP.

What about you?

The Call to Action

I obviously cannot leave without a CTA, so please leave me a comment with your thoughts.

I’m keen to hear about any acronyms from marketing or sales that you like and/or use.

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