Coaches: How To Sell Happiness to Your Customers (Delivering on Your Promise)

People hire coaches to help them achieve their dreams. On the surface, many of those dreams look like mere money or a solid relationship, but underneath lies the drive to pursue happiness.

Effective marketing messages appeal to that desire for happiness. Happiness is the root of what people are after in whatever form they picture it, so it’s the strongest angle with which you can hook them.

For example, a barbecue isn’t merely a barbecue; it’s a fabulous tool for bringing the extended family together and creating happy memories one may cherish forever. Happiness sells, but not every product delivers on the promise.

Is your ad smiling?

Despite ads that depict smiling, laughing families, a barbecue doesn’t necessarily guarantee a joyous family gathering. After everyone admires your new grill, your family dynamics will likely be the same as always.

If people don’t usually get along, then they may descend into arguments even while devouring the best burgers they’ve ever had.

Experiences create happiness — products don’t.

If your aim to sell happiness is genuine, you’ve got to focus on selling the experience rather than the product. It’s not a hands-off, one-time sale. Think about it as promoting an experience that guides people toward the cultivation of their happiness from within.

In the coaching industry, this requires pushing your clients beyond their limits so they can have new experiences. If you’re a coach who only sells digital materials and pre-recorded webinars to maximize returns, you might want to consider adding the option of working personally with clients.

This may go against the wisdom of leveraging your time to make more money, but an absence of personal interaction inevitably sells one’s clients short. Coaching has the greatest potential to encourage breakthroughs when it’s a one-on-one relationship: You assume the role of mentor and your clients pay good money to listen to, and follow, your advice.

The challenge is to deliver on a promise.

The logistics are simple, but the challenge is to deliver on the promise. To deliver, you mustn’t sell ideas and dreams. You have to build a personal relationship with each person, set rigorous expectations, and hold clients accountable for measurable results.

You’ve got to be someone your customers respect and trust, even when you’re not letting them off the hook for procrastination or denial. You have to support them and ruffle their feathers in the correct balance, in order to get them to stretch beyond their limitations without quitting.

If you can’t get them past their limitations, they’ll never achieve the new experiences that lead to genuine happiness.

Selling a dream is like selling dopamine.

If the goal is to help people achieve their dreams and experience happiness, a steady flow of income from selling materials doesn’t inherently signal success.

Getting rich by selling CDs and coaching sessions requires nothing more than triggering the release of serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters that induce a short-lived high of euphoria.

Don’t judge your success on the sales of materials.

In the coaching industry, it’s easy to sell inspiring audio CDs, seminar tickets, books, and other tools to clients who are hungry for change. The downside is that many clients never do the work and become addicted to the cycle of inspiration.

These clients are your best peripheral customers. They buy every book and CD and will do anything to come up with the money make it to your next event, but they don’t apply what they learn. It’s more comfortable to sit in a chair, pop in a CD, and get high on the inspiration.


When people become addicted to inspiration, they aren’t doing the work. If you base your sense of success on how many CDs and books you’ve sold, you’re employing the wrong gauge.

The only way to assess your level of success is by looking at the results your clients achieve for themselves. You might sell a million dollars worth of products, but are your clients enjoying the dreams they hired you to help them achieve?

Don’t encourage your clients to become addicted to your materials.

Think of your motivational materials as a marketing strategy to generate one-on-one clients. Your books and CDs are not the end product; personal time with you is the end product.

The materials you create to inspire people aren’t necessarily going to give them enough to achieve monumental breakthroughs in their life, but they might release that surge of serotonin and dopamine. The entire self-help industry sells the pursuit and promise of happiness, and if you want to stand out, you’ve got to deliver.

Personal development is still important.

Personal development is a $9.9 billion industry, and people pay thousands of dollars to attend seminars and conferences across the world. Among the most famous “happiness experts” are Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Louisa Hay, and Deepak Chopra. Dyer and Hay have passed away, but their books and audios continue to sell like crazy.

There’s an undeniable element of addiction to the industry. It’s an expression of the compulsion to buy things that will make you instantly happyVarious people pin their future happiness on the possession of a new car, a new iPhone, a raise, a bigger house, or a new relationship … or a steady stream of all of them.

Where is happiness?

People instinctively know that happiness doesn’t come in a box, but that doesn’t stop us from buying things. Many people feel directionless and don’t know how to be happy, so they turn to material goods and food for comfort, though it never fills the void.

You can’t sell happiness directly, but you can sell strategies designed to help individuals cultivate happiness from within. It’s ironic, but to sell someone on finding happiness within, you need to appeal to his or her compulsion to find happiness externally. Packaging is everything.

Your marketing message needs to appeal to the person’s ego.

Tips, tricks, processes, strategies, and tools sell. People want to be told what to do, and many of them desire a challenge. Even meditation — a highly effective method for cultivating contentment and possibly happiness — doesn’t get much attention unless it’s delivered as a guided exercise on CD, a month-long retreat, or a structured class.

If people knew that sitting quietly under a tree in their backyard could be as effective as any packaged getaway, many would still attend retreats for the experience. Who can argue with a beachfront resort, or a secluded mountain getaway in the forest with all meals provided?

Train clients to achieve one dream and they can achieve any dream.

Your clients are looking for happiness through something. It could be a better job, a successful business, or a specific level of income. They’re convinced that achieving such an ideal will make them happy.

You have to speak to them through whatever belief they hold, and coach them with that in mind. Will generating a six-figure salary provide your clients with long-lasting happiness? Probably not, but by coaching them to achieve one dream, you can train them in tactics they can use to achieve any goal.

Steer people toward their deepest desires.

Not everyone can become a millionaire by pursuing his or her dreams, but the process may lead to solid success. It’s your job to encourage everyone to pursue the activities that make them happy, rather than the superficial goals that probably won’t.

The most successful firms in any industry are born out of deep passion. While engaging in their profession, people often see opportunities to do something better, and that’s how many entrepreneurs are born.

Sari Mintz, for example, spent years as a passionate hostess but felt discouraged when her creative ideas extended beyond available resources. A master of her craft, she knew the value of personalized party accessories, so Mintz launched her own party supply company in 2004.

You can thrive and be happy.

She may not be a millionaire, but she’s thriving and happy, and her company is regularly featured in national publications, television, radio, and blogs. Success is when other people are aware of your product and want to get it.

Success is when you’re in business doing what you love. Money is merely a by-product of the success.

People want to go through a process.

Despite claims of wanting instant gratification, most people enjoy going through a process to get what they want. It’s why some people pursue passions through the daily drudgery of incremental mastery, and others hunt deer when they could buy venison at the market.

It’s also the reason people build a home on empty land when they could buy an existing house: They want to experience the journey. Your mission is to create the roadmap for that journey, and guide your clients through it.

The journey.

The journey makes people work for the results they want. You don’t to make too great a struggle, but don’t make it too easy, either.

People looking for a purpose in life are vulnerable.

Marketing happiness to a society in search of a purpose isn’t hard, but unless you empower people to do what they love, it’s not a sustainable strategy. If you sell dreams without substance, what little scraps of satisfaction people get will likely prove to be temporary.

Sooner or later, the stream of new books, CDs, or techniques will lose its appeal, and the quest for external happiness will shift to another source. Coaching people to create happiness rather than find it requires getting personally involved in each client’s journey.

You can’t deliver on the promise without personal interaction and committing to people’s long-term success.