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The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make [and Their Solutions] (Part 2)

We have already covered errors in philosophical grounding, lack of skill, and a failure of implementing a sustainable structure for your business--and for the scope of your clients' needs. What is next? More nuts and bolts rather than philosophical grounding or mindset:

Mistake #4: Having Only 1 Stream of Prospects

Most coaches and solo-preneurs rely on word of mouth. Word of mouth is critical. 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 solo-preneur must establish for themselves. What are those three? Solution:
  • Formalized referral systems [two of them]
  • Speaking engagements and free evening talks
  • Word of mouth
The two formalized referral systems?
  • An affiliate program with a percentage or fee for referrals
  • Write a referral clause into your client contract--requiring two if the client is happy with your services. While you do not want to be heavy handed about this, it does set their intention and focuses their awareness on a more formal approach to referrals
The evening talks?
  • Make it explicit in your marketing AND in your introductory remarks that you are there for two reasons:
    • to provide value to their lives--first and foremost
    • to expose people to and offer an introduction to your services
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.
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.

Mistake #5: Failure to leverage contact points and the opportunity they hold

Solution: many
  • 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 leverage them beyond their current limitations emotionally or mentally--an opportunity for your to expand their world. An opportunity for you to be of service.
  • Do not give "free initial coaching sessions"
    • 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. 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.
    • Have them make a decision one way or the other in that exploratory session. 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.
    • Be respectful with their experience--set context--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.
  • 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.
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.

Mistake #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--but an afterthought.

Mistake #7: (Did I say 6?) I guess there is at least one more mistake:
"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. 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. 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? I hope this article helps you in your desire for sustainable prosperity.
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The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make [and Their Solutions] (Part 1)

It is amazing how many coaches, solopreneurs, massage therapists, lawyers, etc. are competent at what they do--yet suffer financially. They are doing good, but they are not doing well--that is, they are struggling financially, mentally, and emotionally.

 

There are reasons for this. I have identified the top 6 reasons--and their solutions-that I have found in my experience in my own business as well as observing those who still have a "practice".

 

The first 3 are presented to you below. The next three will be in Part 2 in a couple of weeks.

 

Mistake #1:  Thinking "Money and Spirituality are in Conflict"

 

For some, "capitalism" is a bad word. Which makes sense. "Capitalism" was a phrase coined by the biggest enemy of the free market and free enterprise to ever live--Karl Marx. Yet, we keep that inaccurate and pejorative moniker. We were taught for thousands of years that to profit was bad--and then this meme was punctuated by the evils of capitalism laid out by a failed mathematician who had no foresight into the services industry--never mind respect for private property and Natural Law and was therefore essentially a thief on a grand scale. Even though with the rise of capitalism in the mid-1800s, our standard of living has more than trebled, never mind that our life expectancy has doubled in a short time as a result...it...is...bad.

 

While there was a a time when one could only profit by exploitation and manipulation or by inheritance or plunder, this has not been accurate for nearly 300 years.

 

[Before commenting on this, please read my series of articles on Spiritual Capitalism, found here: Read First || Read Second || Read Third.]

 

Maybe we should consider throwing off the chains of thinking birthed centuries before the Enlightenment and even before the founding of this Country and came to a head--and have been proven to be inaccurate, ineffective, and fundamentally broken in the last Century.

 

The truth is, it is not only possible to come from service and contribution in a "for profit" environment--that is to live a purpose-filled life--but also to profit well from it and to live prosperously. It takes some personal work--being mindful of your thinking, cleaning out your unconscious imprints of guilt and shame, and to constantly be of service while having sufficient esteem for your self to recognize the value you are bringing to another's life and to have them provide that value monetarily in exchange. It takes a lack of attachment to "closing that deal" and being more focused on service and "opening relationships"--and much more.

 

Actually, I have found what can be provided to our clients lives is priceless to them. Fees are insignificant when weighed against what the work we do in their lives will make possible. It is not a commodity. It is a gateway to greater freedom and happiness. We can live a spiritually oriented life--and integrate free-market, service-based principles into that.

 

By doing so, we integrate our spiritual and our financial life. This frees us from guilt, shame, and allows us to flourish spiritually while prospering financially.

 

Mistake #2: Underdeveloped Skill: Sales, Marketing, and Ethical Influence

 

We have all had negative experience with sales people. Not sales professionals, but sales people--that is, people who want to "close a deal" rather than open a relationship. And most sales trainers teach techniques with little regard for a philosophical base or grounding. I do not support that.

 

I used to think sales was a dirty word. That was until I realized that until I could influence people to take action in their lives--leverage them beyond their limitations--I could never really do much good in the world. You can only be a positive agent for change if you can inspire others to move beyond their current thinking--the thinking that has them in their current life situation and has stopped them from being fully free and thriving.

 

Therefore--if you truly want to do good in the world, it becomes your duty--yes, your duty--to assist others in overcoming their limitations. That means learning to sell and market your services in a compelling way that comes from service and contribution while combining that with powerful tool of influence.

 

You must gain those skills if you want to make a difference and be prosperous.

 

While it may be hard to swallow at first [took me years to accept] you must be a sales person first--that is you must be able to enroll others in a vision--to live your purpose and prosper.

 

Mistake #3: A Lack of Structure: Service, Sustainability, and Packages

 

One you are coming from service and contribution, you begin to consider what would best serve the client. Most practitioners have session-by-session practices or monthly packages, but they do not have comprehensive packages that have stages and phases in them. How many people out there have dabbled here and dabbled there and never really bucked down and did the deep work to reveal greater depths within themselves? I have found most clients approach their personal development this way. "Well, I have tried this and I have tried that...", [but I never really got what I needed that was deeper].

 

The best thing you can do as a coach or a practitioner is to find a way to create a compelling 3-stage or 3-phase offering that allows the client to reveal greater and greater depths or to attain greater and greater heights. For a massage therapist, this may mean something like:

  • Healing
  • Activating
  • Opening
For a Coach it may mean something like:
  • Clarity
  • Tool Gathering/Education
  • Purpose/Action
I am just pulling these out of my pocket and tossing them out there. The point is that if you truly want to be of service to your clients, you will develop a phased program so that they finally make a deep commitment to themselves--and they finally achieve that elusive transformation--mentally, emotionally, and perhaps spiritually, they have been looking for for years. In the process, you create a sustainable practice with monthly payments coming in--and you get to then relax and be certain you are always acting with integrity and acting ethically. People only get slimy when they are desperate. You owe it to your clients to create a deep compelling offer that is only offered with integrity--and you owe it to your self to be prosperous as a purpose driven helper. Everyone wins. And wouldn't you like to be in a position to say to to a prospect you really do not want to work with? Of course you would. Wouldn't you like to always operate with full integrity and ethics intact coming from service and contribution? Of course you would. Wouldn't you like to provide comprehensive solutions to your clients so you can make a deep and lasting positive impact on their lives? [The next 3 top problems/errors and solutions will be handled in part 2]
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How to Get Clients and Testimonials In 10 Days

After the last piece on how to get clients and testimonials the same day, I had a few people ask me how to get clients if they had few or none in the past. In other words: what is the second fastest way to get clients.

The short answer is: give a talk or an evening intro to your work.

However, there are several structures you will need to have in place to make this an effective event for client acquisition.

  • Give people no less than 10 days notice, but no more than 2 weeks notice about your event. This falls in the window of them making sure they schedule it, without being so far out in the future that they wait and forget.
  • Give a cap to how many people will be there [limit it to 8 or 10 or 12] and require an RSVP. This does several things:
    • It creates more urgency for them to RSVP
    • It gives you [if you are not used to speaking in front of a large group] a manageable-sized audience so you can become comfortable with the whole affair
    • It allows you to then publish how many spots are left for the evening in a follow up email [and really, 1 email is never enough and 4 is likely too many in 2 weeks]
  • Make sure you open with the fact that you are obviously there for 2 reasons [say this in the first 1 minute of your talk]:
    • To provide value such that their lives are improved whether you see each other again or not
    • "obviously" to market your services [at the end]
    • At the end, let them know what is available, but simply pass around an interest sheet that lets them opt in to a free exploratory session, or your email newsletter. Low commitment level makes it easier.
    • When you open in this manner it does 3 things:
      • it sets context and appropriately sets expectations
      • it is honest and direct and also takes away the objection they will have at the end that they were not expecting a sales pitch--tell them to expect it
      • gives them an opportunity to walk out if the do not want that experience
  • Bear in mind, you have 48 hours before the prospective clients lead begins to cool off--they become less clear on what they were inspired by or moved by to ask you to contact them
  • Do not waste your time or money on letting them take your card [or even having them, really, or brochures for that matter]. If you truly want to be of service, then get their permission to contact them and take the guess work and variables out of it.
  • If you are publishing to multiple lists/target markets, you can do this ever two weeks, however, if you are publishing the same type of event to the same list, be aware that what happens is that if you do it more that once ever 6 weeks they will begin to take you for granted--"Oh, s/he'll be doing this in a couple weeks...so" and they won't come.

I hope this makes a difference in your life and in your business today.

In Service,

Jason

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How to Get Clients and Testimonials Today

A question I hear often is this:

"What is the quickest way to get new clients."

It is a good question and since I have heard it so many times recently, I thought I would give you all the strategy I recommend. If you use this simple approach, you can get new clients and testimonials today.

1. Call up clients you have worked with in the past to see how they are doing.

2. When they start talking about what a great experience it was to work with you and the results they experienced in their life ask them if you can quote them on that. Type it up and send it to them for their approval. This takes the one obstacle out of the way for them--the time and energy it would take to write it up.

And of course ::: ALWAYS make sure they have approved of the testimonial before publishing it anywhere.

3. Once they have told you exactly how great it was to work with you ask them if they know anyone else who might enjoy that kind of experience. Of course they will.

4. Ask them to get that person's permission to give you their contact information. That way, you can be proactive and again, if you are truly being of service, you will take the variable out of the equation.

Which variable?

They may forget--they may lose your information. They may get scared. If you use a passive approach by waiting for them to call not only has their life not been served, but you have lost business. 

I can not count the number of times a prospective client told me that they had simply forgotten to call me and they were grateful I had called.

Four simple steps and you have either a testimonial, or a referral--or both. I hope this makes a difference in your business and in your life today.

In Service,

Jason
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