Coaching Hacks with Terri Levine and Pete Winiarski
Pete is a business consultant who has supported clients with revenues that range from $1 million to $80 billion in revenue. He leads his own multimillion-dollar consulting company and has excelled in executive and consulting roles for a wide variety of companies. Pretty impressive pedigree so I’m excited to have you guys here.
Karl Bryan: If someone was thinking about getting into business coaching what would you say to help them make the jump?
Terri: That’s a great question. The first thing I would say is make sure you get trained. I think there are too many people who just one day decide “I’m a business coach…” and then don’t seek out or have the proper training. There are skills required to succeed and you need to acquire those skills. Most coaches seem to wing it and have NO specific methodology they follow, especially when it comes to marketing. They’re no better than their clients who basically employ a “spray and pray” marketing approach that seldom if ever gets results.
Coaches have to be able to PROVE at the very first prospect meeting they host that they have the “secret sauce,” and then be able to provide examples how their methodologies will specifically benefit that prospect. Any other coach they may be speaking with is winging it, so when they can show a definitive roadmap that the prospects agree will work for them, they have just cinched the sale.
Pete: You’ve got to figure out what your prospective clients biggest problems are, and be clear about how you help solve them. The reason? Being a generalist doesn’t work to get business coaching clients, it doesn’t work to get you high amounts of revenue. You can’t be like everyone else; you’ve got to be really clear about what you do for your specific prospects.
Karl Bryan: If you were a new coach how much would you charge for coaching?
Terri: First, be clear on the result you deliver because results create value and then you can charge more. If you can’t create a result for someone and you can’t help them make an additional $100,000 in their business you will not command the fees you desire. There’s got to be a big result. If there is, the amount you can charge will surprise you. I want you to come up with that number one. Number two, what are you confident charging? Reality is if you’re trying to close on high fees and don’t feel confident, people are going to move away from you instead of towards you. Otherwise stated; let your fees increase organically as your confidence and results allow.
And not only your fees, but your guarantee as well. When you know you can make a specific type of business more than $100,000 in annual revenue, why not offer a $50,000 revenue guarantee? You can phrase it so if they don’t achieve that number – which will happen when THEY fail to implement your roadmap – you will agree to coach them until they do hit that revenue number.
If you’re charging them $2,000 per month for your coaching fee, that’s more than a 200% ROI guarantee. Try finding any type of investment vehicle offered today with that significant of a guarantee.
Pete: Yeah, the idea of value is so important. If you create a hundred thousand dollars for your client and only charge $150 per hour, you’re out of sync. You’re devaluing your services. It could be confidence for you…. but certainly you’re not charging in sync with the value you’re creating for your coaching client. The coaching process is one that is meant to deliver results, and if you’re coaching without thinking about the results then you will be playing with lower dollar amounts. You need to be comfortable producing and then recognizing the value you create for and with your client. Then you have the opportunity to price yourself at a higher rate.
Karl Bryan: What’s the best advice you’d give a coach looking to go from $50,000 to $150,000, per annum in coaching fees?
Terri: I’m going to say that’s easy if you learn these couple of things. Number one, stop trading time for money, which means you can’t keep coaching and consulting with one person at a time. Start creating group coaching programs that produce results. Charge a premium price for that program and put a plan in place to ensure you get 20 to 50 people enrolled. Less time for money and massive value for your clients should be your goal. One thing that will really help eliminate time for money is to set up your Group Coaching based on a specific niche market. Put together a group of 20 – 50 chiropractors and that’s makes everything from their sales and marketing much easier to provide to them and get them to implement.
Pete: Mechanically, going from $50K to $150K, that’s 3X. So, you’ve got to either 3X your clients or 3X your fees. It’s really a basic mathematical equation. So, how do you 3X your clients or how do you 3X your fees is the question. Terri just shared some ideas… stop trading time for money and coach one to many. One concept to help you is to really figure out and to start marketing your expertise, have some unique or interesting angle and not just sound like everyone else. The more people that see you as an expert, the higher fees you can command. So now you’re doing both – getting more clients and increasing your fees.
Karl Bryan: What is the number one way for a business coach to generate leads from your experiences?
Terri: When I built my coaching business 21 years ago, I did $500,000 in my first year and then a million plus in my second. My secret weapon was just to create value for people first and then they eventually responded.
If you like to speak on stage, provide great value by speaking on stage. If you like to coach, then provide great value by coaching. Whichever you choose make the number one result what your target audience wants. If you like to speak, teach them by doing webinars, teleseminars. If you like to write; create documents, create reports, create books.
Give people the exact value they want, don’t try to sell them. Right now, I use automated webinars and it’s phenomenal. My webinars play 24/7, people come in from Facebook ads, Google searches or from email invites. They watch a webinar and if they’re interested they raise their hands. If not, I keep sending them more value until they do. Value is always the key component. The day you stop offering value is the day they drop you for good.
Pete: The key is getting people to experience you. I’m a fan of speaking in front of people on stage or it could be virtually, like what we’re doing here for this interview. So add value in a safe zone for your target audience, then they’ll grow confident in you and your job is simply inviting them to join you. If they like you, they’ll join you, and if it’s not a good fit, they won’t. It’s not a big sales job; it’s simply sharing who you are and giving them the opportunity to come along for the ride that suits them.
Karl Bryan: What are the best niches to target today in your opinion… and why?
Terri: I like to target niches with a track record of spending money on education. I’m leading a lot of my clients to any kind of financial services; insurance, financial advisers, real estate, mortgage and IT. These are people that are used to investing in themselves and their companies. Therefore, as long as you give them the result they’re looking for, in a safe zone like a seminar, webinar or a book, they’re easy to convert. Then it’s simply your job to deliver the results so they keep paying for your coaching / consulting. These are niches that make great long term clients.
Look at all the advertising happening around you. Make a note of local businesses you see advertising on cable TV, you hear on the radio, you see in the paper, local magazines, and ValPak. Google specific businesses like accountants or dentists and note the ones running paid ads. These are the businesses that care about growing and being successful. They are proactive and believe in investing in their business. Those are the ones you most definitely should target.
Pete: First, do not be a generalist. It’s not like generic life coaching. Clearly, everyone could benefit, but my goodness, nobody’s going to sign up without clarity around the result. My wife, Marie, is a personal trainer. She made a shift at the first of the year, rather than to just get training clients, she shifted to “I will help you lose 2 sizes in the next 8 weeks” and results dramatically increased from her marketing. In terms of the niche… I like business coaching and consulting. As a business coach, it’s so easy to help to make a difference in a larger company, versus for individuals and entrepreneurs. There’s a bigger budget, there’s a bigger number of people who work there, and therefore there’s a bigger impact that you can have.
Karl Bryan: What is the best closing tactic you’ve used to close coaching clients?
Terri: I do 2 things; first, at the beginning of the journey I teach my coaches the concept of being a mirror. If your prospective client can’t make a yes / no decision… if they need to consult the stars, ask someone’s permission, etc., they’re going to have all that happen in their business and they’re going to struggle. So I bring that concept up first to encourage them to MAKE A DECISION.
A couple of years ago I had a program called The Business Growth System. It was a high-end coaching program for $80,000, and we basically said we will find you $80,000 in new business over the course of the year. If we don’t, we’ll keep working with you until we do. Those are closing tactics I teach. If you want to close EVERY prospect you speak with, prove to them you can make them more money than they will pay for your services – and then guarantee a substantial portion of that revenue as a show of your confidence in your ability to produce.
Pete: You’ve got to get them to believe in the possibilities. In the coaching side of things, they have to bust through their challenges, they have to bust through their problems, they have to have clarity about their goals, and then they have to believe that, “I’m worthy” and that, “with help I can get from point A to point B.”
So believing in the possibilities, there are a couple ways to do that. One, in the consulting world, it’s actually really easy because you conduct a diagnostic up front where you’re able to look at their process, their people, etc and come up with the answer which demonstrates an enormous number of dollars and a value. If you go and do XYZ then you will get this amount of value handed back, and your fee is well within that value. So it’s an easy thing to say yes to.
Same thing with coaching, you’ve got to lead them through to appreciate, “why is that important to you?” BTW, the value might not just be the money; it might be that they achieve their most important goal. “By achieving that goal, what does that enable? Terri lives in Mexico, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, and enjoys lots of time on the beach because that’s important to her. If you can create that for your client, because that’s the most important thing to them, and open them up to that possibility then you’ll get hired.
When a coaching client goes a little quiet, which from my experience means they’re about to cancel, what is the best way to get them “re-engaged?”
Terri: I have that happen as well, I think that’s kind of normal. The first thing I do is I actually call them and say something like “Hey, I want to get on the phone with you for about an hour, I’ve come up with a strategy that I want to share. It’s no charge; I want to get on the phone because I’m really excited about this and think you will be too.” That’s the first thing I do. If they don’t respond to the call, I mail them something. It could be a book or a report, and in there I drop a little note that says “Hey I really want to get on the phone with you to teach you these strategies. I see an extra $100,000 sitting in your business, call me back. ” A few days later, I’ll call them, I’ll text them, then I’ll email them, but the bottom line is – let me give you some extra value- that’s the premise of my approach.
Pete: The first thing is to simple ask them “what’s up?” and the reason I suggest starting there is there’s a good chance something has created an unwanted distraction for them. Oftentimes, there’s an opportunity, if you’re flexible with your agenda, for you to help them navigate their new challenge. And they’re likely not thinking of you for this new challenge. They’re only thinking of you for the first thing they hired you for. They’ve slotted you into that category, and they’re thinking, “Oh boy, I wish I could work with Pete but I’ve got these other distractions I have to handle…” So figure out what the distractions are and then shift the conversation and actually help them solve their new distractions. Then they’ll be free to come back to your original focus without that new distraction.
Karl Bryan: What’s the best bit of secret sauce you have for a coach looking to help his client get an excellent ROI for their coaching fees?
Terri: I talk a lot about the power of one. What I believe makes sense is you have one focus and one result that you deliver for your clients. Establish one result and you work towards it. And then you ask your next question “If I could give you one result, what’s the result you want?” When your target market tells you what it is, just deliver that because they’re ready and willing to pay for it. Don’t try to sell people something they don’t want. You’ll get an excellent ROI for your client if you help them create laser-like focus. Oftentimes 10 to 100 fold over your fees.
Pete: It’s all about execution. Too often a coaching relationship is about ideas and brainstorming solutions to problems. You’ve got to make sure they’re doing something with all of this brilliance and ensuring your coaching is built to make sure they execute. Your program could be more hands on and done for you instead of only advising. If you prefer the advising model you could still build in an accountability component to make sure that they’re actually executing and implementing.
Karl Bryan: What’s the number one reason you see coaches fail?
Terri: It’s kind of a sad thing. They have absolutely no idea how to get leads. If you don’t have leads, you don’t have a business. Many coaches just have no idea where to find business owners or how to get in contact with them. They sit there with maybe the best concepts and can really help people but they just don’t get in front of their target audience and therefore it doesn’t go anywhere and their business dies. The solution is not rocket science – pick up the phone, go to networking meetings, speak to JV partners and provide some value to them like accountants and advertising mediums, send out messages on FB and LI. You just have to get started.
Pete: Mine’s almost the same answer, they do not have a system to get in front of people. Find a way to do things automatically and build a process or a system to bring business owners to you. Define your expertise: write books or articles, or have webinars or teleseminars, or speak in front of groups… and get known so you can become a magnet and bring people to you. Some of the things we’ve already talked about are critical: getting the expertise, being a little bit unique and different, and knowing what your clients need and value. If you have all those things in place, they’ll come to you and you’ll have business coaching clients. If you don’t make that work, you’ll be sitting there wondering, “Where do I make my money?”
Thank you, Terri and Pete… you’re a gift and credit to the business coaching arena.
About Pete & Terri
Pete and Terri are the co-authors of the Ultimate Game Plan, the go-to resources for current or future consultants. In the foreword by Jack Canfield, he declares: “This book is definitely the place for you to start if you want to create a booming consulting business. You can get the book on Amazon.