by Andrew Neitlich
(Click here to register for his free Coach Master Toolkit Masterclasses!)
Which coach would you rather be: one whose income is made up of many short-term, low-medium paid contracts; or one with a sustainable portfolio of long-term, extremely high paying clients?
You want to be amongst that latter crowd, don’t you? To not have to constantly chase down leads in the panic to make rent or pay the mortgage – it’s understandable. You want off that relentless treadmill. You’ve seen other coaches secure those top-dollar clients, and you’ve been wondering, “How the heck did they do that?” and “How can I do that?” Correct?
It’s not that what you’ve been doing so far is necessarily wrong. You’re probably doing a great job in a lot of areas. What you need to move to the next step is a strong framework of resources at your disposal, and a few simple steps to follow when signing your next killer client – the one that will continue to come to you for many consultations to come, and pay you the fees that make your bank balance look very healthy indeed.
STEP 1: Listen for a problem that justifies hiring you
Here is an uncomfortable but true fact: Most executives and leaders don’t want to hire a coach. They don’t care at all about the things that coaches spend their time talking about. They don’t wake up wondering about transformation, neuroplasticity, emotional intelligence, deep insights, or co-creation of any sort.
They do care about whether they will hit their quarterly numbers, whether they have the right people on their team, whether Amazon or an as-yet unknown startup is going to disrupt their business, how to get along better with their manager, how to make change happen faster, what their next career move should be, and how to get more than a few hours of sleep.
Unfortunately, most coaches don’t think this way. They don’t know how to bridge the gap between what the love to do – coaching – and what clients care most about — succeeding.
There is great news here: A big part of the answer is right inside you. If you want to close five-figure engagements, you have to stop talking about coaching and start coaching. To put it in more precise terms, coach the client through the buying process. This will take you through Steps Two and Three. There is still one missing ingredient that you will need for Step Four, but if you can coach your client through the buying process, Steps Two and Three become much easier.
STEP 2: Always have 10 questions ready to uncover the cost of the client’s problem
When you hear that your prospective client has a problem that is bothering them, it is time to use your coaching skills to find out whether the problem is big enough for them to want to hire you to help to solve it.
Let’s say that your client finds out about you because you have been a diligent business developer. Maybe you gave a speech at a local industry association. Maybe you wrote a blog or an article and it is getting some attention. Maybe a client made an introduction to a colleague of theirs who has a similar issue that they did when they hired you.
The client shares their issue with you. For instance, let’s say that a CEO of a small technology comes to you with the same complaint that one of my first clients shared with me: “I love technology, but my people aren’t doing what I need them to do. I just don’t know how to get them engaged.”
Don’t start telling the client about your coaching prowess or how you can help. It’s way too early.
First, ask some powerful questions to find out how serious the client’s problem really is. Do this by always having 10 Cost Questions ready to go, for every problem you solve as a coach, that uncover the costs — both logical and emotional — that the client faces.
Here are some examples of Cost Questions for this situation:1K Club