How to Find (and Keep!) Clients as a Nutrition Coach
Adee Cazayoux here, founder and CEO of Working Against Gravity, with a little story to tell you about when I launched my company back in 2014.
I told my parents about my dream of launching my own nutrition coaching business. They were supportive, but cautious.
They sat me down and said, “Adee, you can try this nutrition coaching thing for one year. Then, if it doesn’t work out, you have to get a real job.”
Online nutrition coaching is a relatively new field so I can understand why they (and maybe you too) feel a little skeptical and unsure about whether it’s possible to find success in it.
Well, I am here to tell you that success is possible. Nutrition coaching absolutely can be a real job. And if you are passionate about health, fitness and personal development, it can be a dream job! You get to transform lives on your own schedule—how much better could it get?
One of the most intimidating parts about launching your own nutrition coaching business is finding clients. At WAG, we’ve supported over 25,000 people in their nutrition and have also recently helped over 100 other coaches launch their own nutrition businesses.
But this didn’t happen overnight. We put in a lot of hard work to attract and retain clients, and today I’m going to outline the top strategies for finding your initial group of nutrition coaching clients.
Strategy #1: Share Your Own Story
In general, it’s good marketing practice not to talk too much about yourself, but to instead spend more time talking about what you can do for your clients and why they should work with you.
At the beginning, however, before you have clients, you have a unique opportunity to share your story and why you are starting this business in the first place.
When you are getting started, your future clients don’t have much information on which to base their decision to work with you, other than what makes your program stand out—which in large part is you!
Telling your story will create an emotional connection that allows people to relate to you and want to learn from you. This often leads to their decision to join or try whatever you are offering.
Here are some questions to help prompt your story:
- Have you had a personal nutrition transformation?
- What kind of nutrition roadblocks have you personally encountered and overcome?
- Why did you decide to start coaching nutrition?
- What makes you and your program different? Highlight what’s unique and special.
- If you have not had nutrition experience in the past, what experience do you have? For example, perhaps you were a nurse who had to manage shift work. Or maybe you were an athlete who needed to optimize your nutrition for performance.
- What is your nutrition philosophy/focus? Is it psychology? Weight loss? Weight gain? Performance?
When you give people a chance to fall in love with you, they develop immediate trust in you and will be excited to join your movement.
Strategy #2: Use Your Existing Network
You don’t need tens of thousands of followers or a huge brand name to start your business. It is easy to get wrapped up in the numbers and talk yourself out of even trying when comparing yourself to “celebrities” on social media.
In truth, all you need is one or two people to get the ball rolling.
In the summer of 2014, well before WAG became what it is today, I was an unknown athlete training at a gym in North Carolina.
A few people asked for support in their nutrition after seeing my personal results. I was excited at the opportunity and wondered, “Could I do more of this?” I offered nutrition coaching services to anyone and everyone I could.
I wasn’t crazy popular on social media and I didn’t have a well-known brand. I simply found a couple of people in my network who were ready to make a change.
Once two people got results, it not only fueled the word of mouth, it motivated me to put myself out there even more.
You have a network, right now, just the way you are. You have friends, family, work colleagues, your gym and other places you attend.
Let your community (no matter how big or small) know that you are looking to start supporting people with their nutrition and tell them exactly how they can take advantage of the opportunity.
Here are some other things to try:
- Post to all your social media platforms and ask for phone numbers or emails of people interested in learning more about your program.
- Send an email or text message to everyone in your network (more on what to say below).
- Ask the owners of the places you frequent if you can leave a flyer or business card on their front desk.
- Ask people at the gym.
- Tell your people to ask their friends and utilize their networks.
Strategy #3: Speak to Someone Very Specific
When you’re getting started, it is tempting to try to appeal to everyone. One amazing piece of advice I got very early on is that if you are trying to talk to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one.
In action, this means that when you are asking people to use your services, you want to be very specific about who you are looking for.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Is my ideal client male or female?
- How old are they?
- What types of obstacles are they encountering? What are their “pain points”?
- What results are they looking for?
- Where do they consume their content?
- How many people can I provide a quality service to?
When you share your program with your network, get specific about who you are looking to support.
The goal is for you to attract the type of client that you are most likely to see results with. You want potential clients to hear about who you’re seeking to help and think, “That’s me!”
This can look like:
I have successfully graduated from the WAG Nutrition Coach Certification program, and I am so excited to finally start supporting others in their nutrition.
I am looking for five women between the ages of 25–45 that are ready to find a diet they can stick to.
Have you tried countless diets in the past with little long-term success? Are you frustrated with your hard work in the gym not leading to the results you’re after? If so, this program is for you.
*Here include some basic details on what you are offering.*
Send me an email or text message *insert contact info here*, and together we will get off the yo-yo train so you can achieve sustainable, long-lasting results!
Spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Notice how, at the end, I was very specific with the action steps that should be taken to get started. Often people need to be told exactly what to do in order to take that next step.
Strategy #4: Use Other Ways to Get the Word Out
Host a workshop or informative event.
Wherever it is that your ideal client spends time (at the gym, yoga, painting classes or the local coffee shop), offer to host a free workshop where you teach people a little about nutrition and explain exactly how you can support them. As part of the WAG Business Program we offer a template that you can use to structure your talk—but for those of you who are not yet a WAG Business, you can follow these guidelines:
- Tell your story.
- Provide value. This can be anything that you think will help people immediately. A lesson or two about nutrition, behaviors, habits or performance. The key here is that everyone should walk away having learned something really valuable and actionable from you.
- Show the benefits of one-on-one nutrition coaching, ending with your offering.
- Have a Q&A.
Offer a free consultation call.
People want to try something before making a commitment. When it comes to nutrition coaching the commitment is pretty large—you are asking them to make major changes to their habits and lifestyle, and they need to trust that you can guide them to a better version of themselves.
Oh, and you’re asking them to pay you for it too!
Offering a free 30–60 minute consultation can be a great way to connect with potential customers, provide them with some value and then ask them to join you at the end.
Some things you can offer on the call:
- Goal setting.
- Working through their biggest nutrition obstacles.
The key here is to provide value—do not hold back. You can offer your best stuff on this call, and that would be ideal to see if you and the potential client are a good fit.
Strategy #5: Deliver Results
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do to build your client roster is deliver massive results.
Your clients are your biggest marketing opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you have one client or 100. If you provide a world-class service, the results will speak for themselves. You will turn your clients into walking billboards.
It is hard not to notice when someone loses weight, gets fitter in the gym, makes healthier food choices and walks with their head held higher and an extra pep in their step. Soon enough, their friends, co-workers and family members will be asking what they’ve changed—and where can they sign up!
Here are some key aspects to making your service world-class:
- When your business is new and your client load is low, be willing to do things that you may not be able to do when you’ve got 100 (or 1,000) clients.
For example: Send your client a handwritten thank-you note in the mail. Or perhaps you have heard they are having a hard time with boredom at work—send them a book of Sudoku puzzles to give them some entertainment (yes, this is something I actually did!).
- Get feedback as often as possible—and take it very seriously.
The most valuable type of feedback you can get is constructive criticism. Yes, the positive feedback feels good, and the criticism stings at first. But if you want the best program in the world, you need someone to expose your blind spots. You simply won’t be able to see some of the things you may be doing poorly.
When you receive negative feedback, instead of getting defensive and dismissing it, really consider what the person is saying. Thank them sincerely for providing you with the information, as it can be very intimidating to provide negative feedback.
Lastly, remember this rule: If one person is saying it, 10 other people are thinking about it or talking about it behind your back.
Strategy #6: Take accountability for mistakes and correct them.
You are going to make mistakes. Maybe you spelled a client's name wrong, forgot to answer an email, mixed up two different clients’ information—whatever it is, own it.
You might worry that, by owning up to your imperfections, clients will lose faith in you. In fact, what happens is that they trust you more. They can trust that you are being honest and authentic instead of hiding something behind closed doors. People can feel when things are swept under the rug, and if you don’t fill them in on what’s going on, they may make assumptions and come up with their own stories about it.
If you follow even one of the suggestions above, you will increase your chances of finding and retaining clients. You’ll be on your way to your dream job. I know this not only because I did it for myself but also because I’ve helped hundreds of others learn how to become nutrition coaches. These people have successfully created their own businesses or side hustles.
Are you ready to take the first steps toward running your own nutrition coaching business?
Through the WAG Coach Certification Program, you’ll not only become an expert in nutrition science and our specific macro-focused methodology, you’ll become a master teacher capable of using your knowledge to help your clients get the results they want for their physical, mental and emotional health.
Once you’ve completed the WAG Coach Certification, you will have access to the WAG Business Program.
Through this program, you’ll get lifetime support in creating your own business. We offer marketing, tools and resources, mastermind calls and access to our proprietary software, Seismic, that takes care of all the coach-client communication, payment/billing and administrative burden. In other words, it allows you to do what you do best—coach!
Until next time!
Keep on Learning
Join Adee and Michael Cazayoux for our Macro Coaching Masterclass. This five-day course starts on May 1st and includes daily zoom calls and lessons. They'll help you beat imposter syndrome, attract your ideal clients and build the confidence you need to become the nutrition coach you were meant to be.