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Interview with Two Coaching Godfathers with Karl Bryan

by | In the Magazine, Karl Bryan | 0 comments

Karl Bryan: Welcome Business Coaching peeps! Great to have you with us for another interview by the Six Figure Coach Magazine. Today’s a special treat for me personally as I’ve got a couple of my long-term mentors here that I’ve dreamed of interviewing for years, which is one of the major benefits of having this magazine. With me are Martin Howey and David Frey. They’re the Godfathers of the business coaching space, and no doubt you’ve heard of them both and many of their impressive accomplishments.

David Frey started consulting in 1994; spent many years attracting Fortune 500 clients and million-dollar projects for Arthur Andersen business consulting, one of the largest consulting firms in the world. He then went on to create the coaches and consultant marketing boot camp which I gleefully purchased many, many moons ago and used with tremendous success. David eventually niched himself in the coaching profession as well as the small business community. He has a fantastic background working with the heavyweights in our profession as well as the little guys. He’s hosted interviews with all the who’s who in the business coaching space and if you follow him on Facebook, you know he’s known and respected pretty much by everyone, and basically just an all-around inspirational guy.

Then there’s Martin Howey. I had the good fortune of working with Martin closely over a number of years. Martin started his first business in 1966 and is currently celebrating his 50th year in business. His client list includes some of the most well-known and successful companies and corporations in the world. I place him among the ranks with Tony Robbins and Dan Kennedy in terms of his ability, influence and content. It’s always a joy when you get to work closely with someone who you idolized for years, and in the end you’re more impressed than you were at the beginning. His programs like Topline Business Solutions and the Ultimate Business Consultant are used on license around the globe.

Karl Bryan: You guys have collectively gotten thousands of people into business coaching. If someone was thinking about getting started as a business coach, what would you say to help them make the jump?

David: Well, first of all, I would have them do some introspection. In fact, I have a series of questions that I would ask myself.

Number 1; am I a self-starter? Can I happily work alone? Believe it or not, a lot of people come out the corporate world, and they have a lot of skill sets, but they quickly find out that the entrepreneurial world is vastly different. You’ve got to be a self-starter; you’ve got to be happy working alone.

Question number 2; do I have a specific skill set that’s going to help me solve a specific problem or serve a specific type of business. I can’t say how many people come to me and say “Hey, I just want to help other businesses. I’ve been in the business world and I want to help other businesses succeed”. And then I drill down on their specific skill set, and ask them what problem do you solve, and they get really confused. You must have a very specific skill set that will help you solve a very specific problem. And it would even help you further if you can solve a specific problem for a specific business.
Question number 3; do I have at least 10 months of cash flow to survive while I build the business. Starting a coaching or consulting company on a part-time basis is difficult. I know very few people who can juggle a lot of balls at the same time and do it well – I’ve never been able to do that. And so, I tell people who want to start full-time to have at least 10 months of cash flow available to survive while they’re building the business. If they don’t do that, then they need to wait a little bit and build up that cash flow, especially if they have a family and kids.

Question number 3; do I have at least 10 months of cash flow to survive while I build the business. Starting a coaching or consulting company on a part-time basis is difficult. I know very few people who can juggle a lot of balls at the same time and do it well – I’ve never been able to do that. And so, I tell people who want to start full-time to have at least 10 months of cash flow available to survive while they’re building the business. If they don’t do that, then they need to wait a little bit and build up that cash flow, especially if they have a family and kids.

Question number 4; am I willing to commit myself to learning the art and science of professional services marketing. The faster that they understand that they’re in the business of marketing professional services and not just delivering professional services the faster they’ll be successful. Many people come out of businesses where they were great technicians and they have this grand plan to start a new business but they soon find out that they’re slaves to their own business. That’s because they’re working in their business instead of on their business. Working on their business, in my opinion, consists of marketing your practice and going out and getting clients. So if you’re not willing to commit yourself to learning the art and science of service marketing, then you’re going to have a tough time in the business.

Martin: David did an excellent job; he gave a step-by-step process to follow and that’s awesome. But I want to look at it a little bit differently. In the 1930’s, there was a man who was looking for a job during the Depression. Signs on the doors of businesses said, “No Help Wanted.” No one could find a job because businesses weren’t hiring. Earl Nightingale tells a story of the “Man on the White Horse.” What this man did was study a specific industry and determine the biggest problem in that industry. Then he identified companies within that industry, looked at their businesses and asked, “What problems are they having? And can I find a solution for those?” Then he developed some solutions and approached those companies.

He said, “I know what your problems are, and I have a solution for them. Give me the opportunity to help you solve those problems and I won’t charge you anything for 30 days. Then at the end of 30 days, if you like what I’ve been able to do and you think I’m worth working for your company, I will allow you to pay me what you think I’m worth.” With that simple approach, he was able to find a job in the industry and with the company of his choosing. And he did it at a time when no one else could find a job. Why was that? Because he was able to provide a solution to a specific problem in a specific industry.

So if someone came to me and said “Martin, I want to get into the business consulting or business coaching profession, what do I have to do?” the first thing I would ask is, “Why do you want to do that? What’s in the business coaching field that’s better than what you’re currently doing? What would becoming a business coach do to you or do for you that you’re not able to do now?” Maybe they’re working too many hours for a corporation, or their company offers no room for improvement or for advancement. Maybe their company wants to transfer them to a location that’s very cold or stifling hot and they don’t want to go there.

Maybe they’re working too many hours for a corporation, or their company offers no room for improvement or for advancement. Maybe their company wants to transfer them to a location that’s very cold or stifling hot and they don’t want to go there.

How will change from what you’re currently doing benefit you more so than what you’re doing right now? I’ll try to get them to sell me on why they want to get into this business. If they don’t have a good idea what they’re getting into and they’re not fully committed to it, the business may not be right for them. So what is it about you that’s going to make you different, special, unique; someone who a business owner would want to solve their problems? So going back to what David said, pick out a specific niche, pick out a specific problem, and see if you can come up with a viable solution. If you can’t do that and you’re not willing to put in that time, you will not be successful in this business.

Karl Bryan: So once you get them into coaching, what’s the best way for them to structure their program.

David: There is no one best way to structure a business coaching program. I would say it really depends on the type of coaching you’re doing. BUT rule number one – structure the coaching program around your life and not the other way around. That means you need to think about how you want to deliver your coaching.

Coaching is a service-based business, so the people that get into it are people that are givers by nature. Natural givers tend to over-commit themselves. Personally, I’m terrible at overcommitting myself, even to this day, because I want to give, give, give. One of the ways to alleviate that problem is to create an escalating ladder of services with prices that increase if the clients want to get closer to you or demand more of your personal time.

So for instance, level one of your coaching program could be an information product that you sell that solves a specific problem. It’s just a virtual coaching program, and for me; I like that because it’s a way to generate qualified leads for my higher priced coaching program. I want to break even when generating high-quality prospects and I can do that through some type of information product. It could be a book, an audio or video program, a home study course, a membership site or any combination of those things.

Level two of your coaching program could be a virtual coaching program with a defined period. Now the keyword here is virtual. So for instance, a good example of a six-week group coaching program is one in which we’re going to get together in a group once or twice a week over the phone or on a multi-person webinar. We’re going to teach and train you, coach you, take questions and provide answers. But it’s all done virtually. In other words, we don’t meet face-to-face. That’s a higher priced program than an information product.

Level 3 – now we’re getting closer to me being personally involved. Level 3 would be some type of an elite coaching program where everyone gets together with you in the community (some people call this a mastermind). You meet three or four times a year and I’ve seen programs like this cost from $5,000 all the way up to 100,000+ a year.

Level 4 would, of course, be coaching one-on-one. This level starts to dig into your personal time so it’s expensive. The reason you want to charge top dollar is there’s always someone out there willing to buy your one-on-one coaching time. I would also hold some type of live event for all my clients. It would either be an annual or semiannual live event where I can upsell people into my programs. I would also have a private Facebook group for each level of coaching to create community. That’s one of the errors that I made when I started out. I should’ve been holding live events and I didn’t. I remember I held one live event and charged a thousand bucks for it. I got 354 people there. But for me, it was too much work and I never did one again which was a mistake.

Martin: What I like to do with the people that come to our training is determine what our common objectives are. What are they really trying to accomplish? We figure out what results they want and work backward. Then we develop and implement a plan and systematic strategy to get them where they want to be. We have a form that asks what their current monthly income is; then we multiply it by 12 to arrive at their annual income. Next, we determine what is their minimal acceptable income… what are they willing to settle for. And finally, we determine what their desired income is.

That gives them the information they need to create the business that will enable them to provide the lifestyle they said they wanted. There are several ways to do that. One is as David mentioned; an ascension program where you sell a $19 e-book to get them into the funnel and then move them up to a $97 product. From there you offer programs in the area of $297 and $497. For me, this is too much work. Personally, I’d rather go for the big-ticket sale myself. So I start right off selling a $10,000 program. If someone doesn’t qualify for that, that’s okay; they weren’t right for my business or my business wasn’t right for them.

Personally, I like to work with businesses on a one-to-one basis. I might have six clients who pay $3,000 per month plus 10% of the additional revenue I generate for them. If I work with six clients at $3000 a month, that’s $216,000 in guaranteed annual income that comes in every year. Now if you add 10% of the increased revenue I generate for them, all of a sudden we’re talking some pretty big money. One of the primary ways we generate our clients is through “Lunch ‘n Learns.” We meet with people at a restaurant, teach them something, and then upsell them into a more comprehensive program.

Another way is through “CEO” or “Executive Roundtables.” For example, you charge $10,000 a year to belong to a Roundtable – that’s $833 a month. The Roundtable consists of a three-hour meeting held once a month. For the first hour you have an outside expert teach them something they’re interested in. The second hour, teach them something about growing their business. And the third hour, put someone on a “hot seat,” have them identify the major problem they’re having, and let the group give them ideas to solve it. In three hours you can easily give someone $833 of value. Let’s say you have 10 people in a Roundtable and each one pays $10,000. That’s $100,000 per year from that one group, and you’re working just one day a month.

Now let’s say you have a good-sized town. You can have a group on the north side of town one week; week two an entirely different group on the south side; week three, another group on the east side; and week four, a completely different group on the west side. That’s four different groups or Roundtables generating a hundred thousand dollars each, or $400,000 total. And how much time would it actually take? Just one 3-hour day a week. That $400,000 is not counting any other income that may be derived from any other activity. There are so many different ways to structure a business coaching program; you just have to consider what you want to do and how much you want to work. The key is to provide value (defined as “results”) first, then make an irresistible offer that they can’t pass up to have you work with their business. So many coaches and consultants get this backward.

Karl Bryan: What is the best bit of business advice you’ve ever received?

David: Simple for me. My favorite quote is… “No other success can compensate for failure in the home” by David O. McKay. You can be a million dollar coach and run around devoting all your time to your business, but if you do that to the detriment of your family relationships, what does it matter?

And really, let’s be honest. At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, any accomplishment you achieved in your profession will be overshadowed, and perhaps even forgotten, when compared to the value of the relationships you’ve nurtured throughout your life.

If you were to ask me for my most important piece of business advice, it would be this. TARGET SMALL. Either target a niche market or a niche within a niche market. It makes your marketing infinitely easier and it’s the fastest way to become the market leader. Try to be #1 in the sub-niche you choose. For instance, if you choose chiropractors as your niche and you’re a marketing consultant, in the beginning only offer one specific solution that solves a very specific dirty, nasty, ugly, smelly problem.

Let’s take FB advertising or referral marketing for example. You would either become the FB advertising expert for chiropractors or the referral marketing expert for chiropractors. When you do that, your marketing message almost writes itself. Once you’ve got clients that trust you, you can expand your services. I know one coach who created a multi-million dollar practice just training front office staff in dental offices how to use the phone to secure appointments! You see what I mean. Target small, then you can go wide later on. (By the way, his name is Jay Geier and he runs the “Scheduling Institute.”)

Martin: Joel Weldon taught me to “Control the Controllables.”  Too many of us spend too much time contemplating, thinking about, and worrying about things that are beyond our control; gas prices, the economy, the weather, and what other people think. We should do what we can to influence those things for the better, but in most cases, there’s not much we can do about any of these.

Instead, we should focus our time, attention, and energy on things that are within our control and that can move us closer to our defined goals or objectives… our honesty and integrity, our thoughts and attitudes, our actions and activities, and the way we treat others.

As far as a pure business lesson I’d say YOUR CUSTOMER SIGNS YOUR PAYCHECK.

Listening to your customers is one of the most important business skills a business owner, executive, manager or employee can have. The customer is the boss, they vote with their check book (or credit card) and they’re the whole reason your business or your job exists in the first place. They “hire” you to help them solve problems, they trust you to ensure that they make good decisions and they pay you well to do your job.

The wants, needs, desires, and satisfaction of your customers should guide all the activities of your business. Without customers, you don’t have a business. When a customer complains, they are in reality giving you a gift; they’re telling you what you need to do to improve some aspect of your business. It used to be said that “satisfied customers” are the key to a successful business.

But not any longer. Any number of businesses can “satisfy” a customer. “Satisfaction” simply means that I’m okay; an “okay” customer can be “okay” at your competitor’s business, too. In today’s market, it takes more than satisfied customers; you have to go out of your way to “THRILL” your customers. Thrilled customers will spend more, buy more often, refer more people like them, complain less, make fewer returns, and stay longer. And as a bonus, they’re more fun to work with.

Karl Bryan: Thank you, Martin and David… you’re a credit to the business coaching profession and I can’t thank you enough for spending the time with us today.

To listen to the full 2-hour interview go to



Karl Bryan gets clients for Business Coaches...period. He is the editor of The Six Figure Coach Magazine and Chairman of Leader Publishing Worldwide, home of the largest private community of Business Coaches (24 countries and counting) in the world.
His goal is straight forward… to help serious coaches/consultants get more clients and to start using the internet effectively.

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