Acquiring local users without turning off potential customers

I have an existing service geared toward life coaches. From what I’ve found, the best watering hole for this market is in local Meetup type groups. I have found nearly nothing for impersonal online communities and that makes sense somehow given the occupation: Face to face human interaction.

However, I have had a hard time trying to get in to this “scene” to offer my services. I am not in the profession and can’t really offer anything but a free trial.

Anyone have experience getting into this type of meetup and actually pitching to a potential audience without coming off as only being there for a sale?

Is this a red flag that says look elsewhere?


I think it is really hard to start offering a product to a group that you are not part of, you’ve got a whole trust issue to negotiate before you can start to sell.

If you are really set on working with this market then I think you are right in that local business networking groups are probably where you will find people interested in what you offer. However you will probably need to do a fair bit of legwork before you can start selling to people, in terms of just going to these groups, talking to people and making connections.

Why did you decide to create a service for this market? What was the driving force behind that decision?

My wife was a life coach. She is doing other types of coaching now so is no longer in the circles she was in, which are not local to where I live.

I think you are right and the time investment in doing that legwork is probably not worth the ROI I’m willing to spend in order to reach a niche group that I’m not even sure would generate the dollars needed.

I think the non-techie nature of the industry, in my experience, moves very slowly and probably is somewhat high touch to reach. The meetups would be great, but again I don’t want to just drop in to one and say, “HI, try this product!” :smile: Or, at least, that’s not my style.

Anyone have experience getting into this type of meetup and actually pitching to a potential audience without coming off as only being there for a sale

I’m wondering if maybe you should be embracing why you’re attending, instead of trying to work around it…

I used to attend a fair number of meetups, and one approach I’ve seen that didn’t seem to come across too badly was to “sponsor” a meetup. By that, I mean reach out to the person who runs the meetup and offer to buy pizza (or maybe healthier food?) to serve at the meetup.

At the meetup where I saw this, it was a lawyer pitching his services to single-founder startups. He basically got introduced by the meetup leader, and before things got started he said a few words about what he offers, told everyone his URL and phone number, gave out business cards, etc. It was a small meetup (around a dozen people), so for the price of a couple of pizzas it seemed like not a bad idea.

Plus, since you’re being up-front about the fact that you’re not exactly a member of that group, but rather that you offer something they might be interested in, it feels less sketchy to me. But not sure how you’d feel about that. Of course, you’d also need to find a meetup organizer who would agree to this arrangement.

Just a suggestion!

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@mattm That’s a really great idea, I will actually try that. Though as a coder that’s definitely outside my comfort zone. Thanks for suggesting it!

@jimm Great, I hope it’s helpful and works for you.

I 100% understand what you mean about it being outside your comfort zone. So much easier and less scary to just sit inside and code/build your product!

Sounds like you’re up for the hard stuff too though. Good luck!