After speaking at a conference, I recently met a coach/consultant from California. He was obviously a talented guy with a lot to offer, but after chatting for a few minutes he shared something that I hear often. He said,
“I know I can help people. I do it all the time. I just have a problem with confidence when it comes to selling potential clients on working with me. I should have all sorts of swagger when it comes to charging for my time… but I just have a tough time with it.”
Can you identify? Do you wrestle with the same feeling? I sure did! It’s understandable. It’s a really common experience. If this is something you’re dealing with… I want to give you a simple but powerful strategy that I offered to this new coach. (By the way… he used it to gain a new client the next day!).
I simply asked him 4 questions. Here they are in order:
What’s your current “package?”
When I asked this… I stumped him at first. But then I asked a follow-up question. “How are you currently selling your coaching?”
He explained his most common approach was to work with a client month-to-month. They would invest in a month of coaching with him and that would get them 4 50-minute coaching packages. He had a flat price for the month and offered some price breaks for people who invested in two or three months up front. He said that he thought this was a pretty simple and clear approach, but it seemed to cause people to be surprised by his $200/hour rate.
His current “package” was based on the “trading time for money” model, which is common for lawyers, counselors and even doctors. It’s that… “If I sit and talk with you for an hour… you’re going to charge me X.” It’s a cold-hard transaction… clear and simple.
I explained that this model was common… but not effective for coaches.
So… I asked my next question.
What do you want your clients to “experience?”
Again… I stumped him at first with this next question. So I explained myself a bit.
What do you want your coaching client to experience as the result of working with you? For example, do you want them to experience…
- a major breakthrough in their career?
- a feeling of finally moving from “just surviving” to thriving?
- the satisfaction of overcoming a conflict in a key relationship?
- the thrill of achieving their dream job?
He explained that he loved to help people who feel lost to experience a sense of true clarity. Then he helped them build a plan to get where they wanted to go. As he started to talk about this “experience” for his clients… he came up with story after story of people he’d helped. He lit up as he shared some of his favorite success stories. He smiled. In fact, he beamed with confidence. He had true swagger as he bragged… not about himself but instead… he bragged on his clients and their achievements. (It was fun to see him be so proud of his people!)
We’d hit a gold… so I asked him my next question.
“How long does that ‘experience’ usually take?”
He gave me a questioning glance again… but then the light bulb went off over his head. He started to pick up on exactly where I was taking him. In fact, I didn’t need to ask him a follow-up question this time.
After thinking for a minute, he said, “I can almost always help someone get that clarity, build a plan and then start walking out that plan in 3 months… or 12 coaching sessions.”
I said, “Awesome. There’s your ‘package.’”
I continued, “Don’t sell someone on buying 4 hours of time with you. Invite them into the ‘experience of finally getting clarity, building a plan and achieving more of the life they were created to live.’ Don’t sell them on working with you month-to-month. Offer them your “Clarity Package.” It’s three months of working together (12 sessions) to help them finally get clear, get to work and achieve break through! That way, they’re not just paying you for your time… they are investing in a life-changing experience!”
With a confident and excited smile… he responded with a… “Oh, I like that.”
I continued, “So… you’re not selling your time… you’re offering them an “experience” through your coaching package. That totally changes the conversation. And… since you know the value you can bring in 3 months of working together… you can have that swagger you’re missing now.”
He said, “You know it.”
I asked my final question:
“What’s your coaching package now?”
He said, “Well… now, I’m not going to just sell my coaching month-to-month. I’m going to offer the ‘Laser-Focus Package.’ It’s going to be 3 months of coaching. Plus, I already have a bunch of things I can do with them if I know we’ve got a full 3 months together! I’m loving this!”
And with an inspired grin on his face, he said, “Yeah… I’m feeling the swagger. Thanks!”
Also, as I mentioned earlier… he had a call with a potential client the next day and they invested in his brand new package. In fact, he relayed that they didn’t push back on the price at all… and that they were really excited to get started!
How about you?
How could you apply these questions to your own coaching practice? What if you were to think about what you want your coaching clients to experience as the result of working with you? What if you were to throw away the model of just charging month-to-month for your time… and instead invited your potential clients to invest in that ‘experience?’ What might that do with your confidence? How might that change the conversation with potential coaching clients?
Try it out. Ask yourself the questions. Just see where they take you!
Keep bringing your awesome, the world needs YOU!
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