Get Potential Clients to Choose YOU: Use this Simple Hidden Treasure Concept!

Coach and Client Looking for the Hidden Treasure

Many of us (by us I mean coaches and people who want to help others and make a difference) think sales is complicated, hard, a chore or worse - something somehow beneath us that we shouldn't have to do.

Yes, selling coaching IS challenging.

First, people must WANT coaching (which assumes they understand what it is!) and they must want to coach with US (someone they don't know yet!). They must be willing to pay for it - to the tune of hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of a coaching relationship - and also be willing to do the work. So, they need to commit to themselves (energy, money and time) to something they don't fully understand, with the benefits to come at some point in the future. No wonder it can be hard to get clients!

All around us I see how big (and small) companies manipulate people into buying. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a part of that. BUT if we don't learn how to sell - we won't get clients, and that means we aren't helping anyone!

So, use the "Hidden Treasure" concept!

So I'm going to share a simple but extremely powerful and coach-like sales concept to help clients get excited about working with you.

Help your clients find the "Hidden Treasure" in their goals. That hidden treasure in sales conversations is not just the question "Why do you want your goal?" but specifically, "Why Now?".

Let me tell you a story that illustrates how the "Hidden Treasure" works:

I had an enquiry from someone who wanted to find work she loved. Let's call her Sally. Sally was extremely motivated, but after 18 months on her own was no closer to her goal. She wanted a coach to help her find the "perfect" career. Gulp!

So, I set about finding the "Hidden Treasure", Sally's "Why NOW?" (and I even created a Find Your Hidden Treasure coaching tool to help!)

Sally began by saying, "Well, isn't it obvious?"

So I replied (very gently!) that if it was obvious, she should have no trouble answering! And so it was, that Sally told me about the boss who took her for granted. She told me that she really enjoyed some aspects of her job, but was bored. I heard that she loved working with people, but in particular felt drawn to work with children - which she wasn't doing in her current role.

Then I asked, "What lies underneath THAT?" And Sally told me that she wanted to work with people who appreciated her.

Hmmmmm. So Sally wanted more responsibility and she wanted a connection to children.

We were super clear on what she really wanted, but we still hadn't got to the "Hidden Treasure" - the Why NOW?

So I asked some more questions to delve a bit deeper. Sally told me about her recent 40-something birthday. She was feeling 'old'. Her children were preparing to leave home and she was feeling empty. She had been doing the same job for the last 15 years and was looking for more.

This was good. Closer. But still not the "Hidden Treasure" - it still didn't explain why NOW?

And then, Jackpot!

Suddenly Sally was telling me all about her upcoming 25th High School Reunion. Many of her classmates had gone on to become lawyers, accountants and successful business people and while she didn't want one of 'those' jobs, she DID want to feel excited about her life when she met all her past classmates again.

So Sally's High School Reunion was the "Why Now?" - the catalyst for seeking out a coach to work on her goals now.

Now that we had Sally's "Hidden Treasure" I could bring that into working with me!

So I replayed it all back to her:

"I'd love to work with you to create more excitement and challenge in your work, help you feel more appreciated and also look at how to bring working with children into your life. And we can make sure you feel good about your life ready for that High School Reunion. So, the question now is, would you like to work with me?"

Well, Sally said it sounded fantastic - and she signed up with me right there and then!

So, what happened?

Many coaches would just have coached Sally around her goal of "finding work she loved". But by digging deeply into the WHY - and getting to the "Hidden Treasure" - we found a very powerful motivator - the REASON she was seeking out a coach now.

When we get to the "Hidden Treasure" like this, it demonstrates the power of coaching - how we listen and help clients understand themselves better. And the "Hidden Treasure" also helps us articulate what we can do through coaching to help them - and make that sale!

The "Hidden Treasure" is more than just the "Why" of our goals.
When it comes to a sales conversation it's also the "Why NOW?"

It's not always straightforward. Sometimes people will be extremely unconscious about the reasons behind their goals. And some people may not trust you enough (yet!) to share (that their ex-husband has a new girlfriend or that they've been feeling depressed and almost did something very silly at work), but if you can begin to bring "Why NOW?" into your sales conversations, your conversion rate of sample session prospects into clients WILL increase.

If you liked this article about Goals, Sales and Marketing, you may also like:

Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

Image of Coach and Client discovering the Hidden Treasure by Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock


  1. Kenn (web designer for coaches)

    Nice "replay" back based on her words. SUper example of getting to their deep desires.

    When I work with clients on their websites, I have them list out the 20 pains and 20 desires of their ideal client(s), and often a core few things surface - just another way to find "hidden treasure".

    • Emma-Louise

      Thanks Kenn. Getting 20 pains and desires is a good technique - if they only got to 5-10 your clients would learn a lot. Warmly, Emma-Louise.


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