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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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