I don’t like the title of this article. In fact, I struggle with the whole idea of writing this article. Not because it isn’t the absolute truth, but because it sounds like hype. I assure you it isn’t and I’ve been blessed to close the exact same type of sale in multiple industries with a variety of coaching programs. That being said, the title does grab attention…
Additionally, I will start off by saying that what I’m about to describe isn’t easy to do and took a great deal of confidence to achieve. You CAN do this though, and I’m going to break down as many steps and ideas as I can to help you understand why this particular prospect (now a client) spoke to me for about 90 minutes and joined my 3 month – $30,000 coaching program.
Let’s start with an obvious fact that isn’t always so obvious when you read about these type of successes. This client has a successful business that has been struggling to maintain their previous level of success and they wanted help. If this article ended right there, you’d assume the simple answer is find a targeted market that wants help and you’d be partially correct. That’s a lead generation challenge, right?
The simple answer, in this case, I was introduced to the company’s owners by another coach that tried a sales approach that he was taught by several big names in the “how to sell coaching programs” business. He didn’t get the sale. I later discovered why and I’ll explain at the end.
When he realized he was not going to get this company as a client, he mentioned me as an expert in marketing and sales (He’s a sales coach). That and my first name is all he told them about me. When the company officially told him “no”, he set an appointment for me to speak with them.
This is where it gets interesting. I show up at the appointment, and they seem irritated and restless. One of them even throws out a subtle insult because I didn’t have a pen and paper, nor did I want one, and one of the owners is speaking to me by phone while 2 others meet with me in an overcrowded office space.
Here are the steps that I took and you would do the same I’m sure.
- Asked them; what they have done to achieve so much success over the last decade?
- Asked them; what is happening now to continue that success?
- Asked them; what their goals are for the near future and how they are planning to achieve those goals?
Nothing special so far, right?
Wrong! I listened actively, asking for clarification when needed, and complimenting them on their past successes. After asking about their goals, I did NOT, I repeat, I did NOT launch into what I could do for them. They were asked a few more questions about what changed over the last 7 years of their decline for their peak? Then, who was their target market and did they know how many leads they were receiving and closing every month? They weren’t able to give a clear response to those follow ups questions.
Up to this point we had been meeting for about 50 minutes, and I probably only spoke for a total of 5 of those minutes. The mood in the room had turned from aloof skepticism to passionately discussing their ‘baby’.
Now I start asking even more questions, but these questions were targeted to assist them see where they may need help. Again, I had no intention of telling directly or at this time what I could do for them, I wanted them to know, just from my questions, what I would coach them on doing for themselves. Here are a few of those questions;
- Have you had a marketing and sales director before? What happened when they were here?
- Did they set up marketing systems, sales systems, and referral systems for you so that even if they moved on you’d still be able to grow?
- Do you have a plan to attract media attention? (They did this well when they released their book years ago.)
- Do you know exactly how many leads you’re getting every month? Do you know how many renewals and how many new sales you close every month?
- Can you tell me, in detail, how increasing the number of sales would impact your business and each of you personally?
- Has the Internet marketing strategies been maximized and tested to become a primary source of business for you?
- Are you looking to automate much of these processes so you all can start enjoying life more and travel less (road sales)? This was a goal all 3 mentioned when answering question #5.
- How committed are all of you to achieving these goals and when did you expect to start?
That took about another 20 minutes of time for them to answer each of those questions.
That’s when it happened, they said; “How do you know all of this stuff so well? Can you help us with all of those things?”
Pay close attention, I spoke for less than 10 minutes so far and just asked questions. This happens to me often. I’m told I’m an expert and know “a lot of stuff”, yet I’ve never said a word about what I do or what I know. All I do is listen well, affirm their emotions, and let them speak.
Here comes the part that trips up coaches. Up to this point you are probably saying to yourself, yeah, so what? I do that!
Okay, okay, I’m sure you do. In fact, the guy that led me to these people said the same thing, and he’s been at this 20 years longer than me. (As I mentioned above, I’ll give you details at the end to explain what you may be unwittingly doing, like he did.)
I responded to their 2nd question only; “Can I help you? Yes.” Then I spent 3-4 minutes briefly restating what they wanted and what seemed to be holding them back, based on what they told me. The 2 people in front of me were now smiling and shaking their heads in agreement while the owner on the phone chimed in to state his anxiousness to get back to their peak results like they had 7-10 years ago.
With supreme self-confidence and with no hesitation I quoted my fee of $30,000 for 3 months of coaching and listed 4 basic strategies I’d teach them. Pay attention there. Four basic strategies, not details of how, who, what where, when and why!
That’s where so many coaches trip up. The quoted fee is almost apologetically stated or your voice pauses for a moment. Then you go into great detail about the 29 bullet points you deliver and almost redo your whole presentation.
The number you charge has to be one that YOU KNOW you’re delivering more value than they are investing.
So let me wrap up this article with as many key points as I can share with you, including a few that aren’t directly written about here. Several of these keys occurred after the presentation but before the signing of the agreement and the check being handed over to me.
- Be known for your expertise. I was referred by a person that never coached with me, but had heard me speak several times, had noticed meal over the Internet, and saw some media I was quoted in.
- Give value to everyone, not just prospects. The sales coach that referred me participated in a discovery call/strategy session with me. I gave him a great deal of insights and education for him to use in his business regarding marketing. I then told him I don’t recommend he become a client of mine. I acted with integrity, knew he didn’t have easy access to the budget he needed to invest, and recommended a course of action. He was a candidate for a $5,000 program. Because he trusted me, he referred what ended up being a $30,000 client.
- Listen, Listen, Listen. I’m still learning every day to be a better listener. The reason I don’t have a pen and paper? I want to give the people in front of me 100% of me. I read facial expressions, I focus on body language as well as their words, and it usually helps me make them feel even more comfortable moving forward with me. Let me share with you some of the best ways to learn this skill. Have conversations with people suffering from early onset of dementia, have a fully focused discussion with your family members every day, and forget selling when you’re selling.
- Be nice. The coach that referred me thought he was listening and being nice. He didn’t hear a few questions precisely how they were asked, and they had to be repeated. Then when they gave him an open door by showing their stumbling block, he accidentally insulted them. You can’t tell someone they’re wrong and then talk for 10 minutes about why they are. (One of the owners told me this happened with the coach that referred me.)
- The company did research online about me after the presentation. They told me what they saw about me helped they make the decision to invest with me. I had a certain level of celebrity/authority built up online. That is the part that isn’t necessarily easy, simple yes, but not easy. Time to write articles and books and record videos and audios pays off, make time to build your presence.
- The confidence issue. I honestly felt like I was going to give more than they invest. I’ve sold primarily $5,000 -$50,000 coaching from the first meeting. People that claim they sell high ticket coaching often still have a funnel from low priced to high priced. I know too many coaches that insist they are confident, offer $47 – $997 programs, and then can’t seem to consistently close $3,000 plus programs. Maybe it’s a subconscious thing. Maybe the coaches are always holding that down sell mentality in their head.
- I don’t need a decision today! If I showed you value, you will want to join a $5,000-$10,000 program on the same day. If you’re selling a $30,000 plus program, give them time to research and decide. I requested they connect with me in 5 days to give me their answer.
Like I said, I wasn’t sure how to write this to deliver the most value to you the reader. It isn’t easy, simple yes, but not easy. It took time to build up my credibility with others, get influencers that refer me, and deliver my fees with a confidence that is comfortably high. Learning to keep my mouth shut seems to be the strangest secret of all. The less I tell to the person investing 5 figures into coaching the better my close ratio.
As you can see, no big secrets. You know or knew most everything here. But, do you have the confidence deep down inside? Do you have the credibility online, as in do you at least show up in a lot of places? Can and will you practice listening outside of the business world?
Finding that perfect client, that one that is ready for you and can afford to invest at the highest level with you is as much about marketing after the presentation as before. It’s as much about selling in a brief period of time as it is about not selling by asking questions that lead the prospect to close themselves.
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