The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make (Part 2)
In Part 1 we discussed the need to integrate money and spirutality, and how to better serve your clients's needs in a sustainable way.
What’s next? More nuts and bolts to build on the philosophical grounding and mindsets we established in Part 1.
4: Having only one stream of prospects
Most coaches and practitioners rely solely on word of mouth and word of mouth is good. In the 21st century marketplace there are hyper-empowered and talkative people. This is good for you. However, it is not enough. Make a decision now to take control–to be the locus of responsibility–for the success of your business. While word of mouth is critical, it is only one of at least three prospect streams the successful coach or practitioner must establish for themselves. What are those three?
•Formalized referral systems [two of them]
•Speaking engagements and free evening talks
•Word of mouth
•An affiliate program with a percentage or fee for referrals; offer to pay a commission – a generous one.
•Write a referral clause into your client contract stating that if the client is happy with your services that they then agree to refer two people to you for a complimentary exploratory session. While you never want to be heavy handed about this, it does set their intention and focus their awareness on a more formal approach to referrals. And wouldn’t you rather pay them than pay for advertising (online or otherwise)?
Evening Talks | Introductory Talks | Speaking Engagements
These are the bread and butter of filling your practice and keeping it full. When you give talk make it explicit in your marketing and in your introductory remarks that you are there for two reasons:
1. To provide value to their lives–first and foremost and;
2. To market your services and/or products, course
Say this at the beginning – in the first three minutes – and let them know you will be revisiting what is available to them at the end. And then at the end of your talk, pass around a signup sheet for them and next – and this is critical – if they expressed interest, initiate contact with within 24 hours with an initial email beginning the sales flow process of your sales system.
Word Of Mouth
Consider this a great backup and occasional unexpected icing on the cake when those unintentional or random referrals occur. And occur they will. Sometimes they come from something you posted online or from a referral you were unaware of or a former client you have not contacted in a while.
If you do this, and you consider them in this order of importance, you will always be in control of your flow of clients and prospects–and they will flow in. Your sustainable prosperity will follow.
5. Failure To Leverage Contact Points And The Opportunity They Hold
First, let me give you a tip – forget about handing out business cards. You don’t really need them except for scratch paper. People will lose your card, become overwhelmed, forget what exactly they talked to you about, etc. It gets lost in the shuffle. If you really want to be of service, you get their information – get their card – and send them a follow-up email within 24 hours.
Teach the people who want to refer people to you – whether they are clients or affiliates – to get the person’s permission to give you their contact information (not give them one of your cards, send them to your website or what have you. Have them get their permission to give you their contact information and then again, you initiate contact within 24 hours and begin the process.
I had a student who was a massage therapist and he doubled his business in two months using only this tip.
Consider any contact point you have with a prospect -- be it an initial session, an email, or a phone call -- an opportunity for you to take control of the situation gently and ethically and move the process forward to the next step. And every step is an opportunity for you to of further service.
Do not give “free initial coaching sessions” (Another contact point to leverage)
Many coaches and many prospects think it is beneficial to give away services or to experience the practitioner directly. I have never found this to be effective in a prosperous business. If you want to turn your practice into a business then offer a complimentary exploratory session–and consider it an information gathering session for you and a sales presentation for the prospect. Let them get a sense of you, but do not give them free coaching. You are not part of a buffet they are sampling. You want them to commit to a more fulfilling experience; a full 3 course meal. Be sure to show them the menu and explain the dishes and presentation–be sure to demonstrate your competence, but be careful you are making sure your contact point is leveraged to its full potential–for their sake in finally having a better life–and for yours in creating a sustainable and prosperous business.
In service of this, have them make a decision one way or the other in that exploratory session – mine are two hours and are complimentary. If you let them “think about it” then they will get less and less clear on what you presented, and therefore less and less clear on what it will make possible in their lives and their fear and limitations kick in; the very habit patters of the mind that they are coming to you to resolve take over. It is your duty to guide them to a choice in that session. Yes and no are both fine answers–but require an answer. I will often ask a prospect who wants to “think about it” if that is the thing that stops them elsewhere in their lives. That is usually all I have to say in those situations for them to sign the agreement in front of them. If they ask why they have to make a choice today, you do something shocking: you tell them the truth. You tell them that if they think about it, what happens is they get less and less clear on the presentation, less and less clear on what it would make possible in their lives and the habit patterns of their minds – many of which they have come to you to resolve begin to take over – and then you have failed your very first test as their coach or practitioners.
Because it is the truth, I have trouble even recalling a time where the response was not agreement. That is what happens to most people.
Be respectful with their experience–set context/pre-frame the session flow–and make sure when you chat with them on the phone for the purpose of setting up the exploratory session that they are aware of the process–that they know you will clarify what they want, then explain your approach, and then if it is a fit–have them review a contract.
Those contact points are critical for your guidance of the client to changing their lives.
Client Emails | Testimonials (yet another contact point to leverage)
When a client sends you an email raving about your contribution–or when they acknowledge you verbally communicating the difference you have made for them–ask them if you can quote them. Turn that acknowledgment into a testimonial for your marketing materials.
You don’t need the ego strokes or the compliments (well, maybe you do, but hopefully you don’t) what you do need is the “social proof” for your marketing channels. Always offer to write it up and/or edit it and send it to them for their approval before publishing it, but make sure you leverage this contact point.
There are more examples I could give, but remember, if you want to have sustainable prosperity and truly be of service to a larger and larger portion of your community, and therefore be an agent of change rippling out to assist in creating a better global condition–consider every contact point an opportunity to serve them or others through them.
6: Considering Your Service a Commodity
There is a reason I do not publish my rates.
My services are not a commodity on the shelf to be price-shopped. And no one else does what I do, really. And consider that you offer something unique that no one else does. In discovering that you will not only feel better about your “fees”, but you will also have take the first step in being able to communicate the value of your services to your clients and prospects in such a way that your fees seems insignificant and nearly irrelevant when measured against the value your service will bring to their lives.
And really–just between you and me–do you really feel that a number, no matter how reasonable or how unreasonable it may seem communicates the scope and richness of the difference your service can provide in their lives? Unless you have nothing unique to offer–you do your prospects a disservice by buying into their mindset that they can price shop.
I have never lost an opportunity or had a client not want to work with me as a result of this approach. In fact, it is one of the secrets of my success–selling from vision and value and having the money be a formality; an afterthought.
The sales system I have developed works so well that we don’t even cover overcoming objections or “reframing” objections in the course. There is no need if you follow the system because you will so clearly be coming from service and you will have fit that objections rarely – if ever – arise unless you skipped a step in the sales process.
Mistake #7: Did I say 6?
I guess there is at least one more: “Healing” that which you need to resolve in your self and in your own life by healing others
I am going to say something harsh here and say that I consider it unethical–yes, “unethical” for coaches, therapist, or “healers” to work on the same issues with clients that they have not resolved within themselves.
While you may still be able to provide solutions–at least be honest with your client that you have not handled it in your own life. And make a choice now to only provide services that you feel competent, resolved with, and apply to your self in your own life.
If you are a relationship coach–have a great relationship, or at least don’t be leaving wreckage behind you. If you are a coach around self-esteem, have a well-developed ego [in the positive and healthy sense]. If you are an addict who is still smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, do not counsel others on that – get sober first. Do not look to heal your wounds through the wounds of others. There is a danger of projection, and even more so–how can you charge someone to solve something you have been unable to demonstrate as being solved in your own life?
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