The Most Important Sale Every Coach Must Make with Mike McMahon
I know for some of you the very thought of selling makes you sick to your stomach. For others, maybe you just think of it as a necessary evil. Regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall on – either hating the idea of selling or loving the process – this article is for you.
I hope to open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking about selling your services that not only empowers you in your sales process but also enables you to raise your fees to a level you may not have thought possible.
As a coach, the most important sale you must make is that you yourself are sold on the service you offer. You must believe at your core that you’re the absolute best solution for your client. In other words, you must believe in yourself before anyone else will believe in you.
When you believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re the right solution for the prospect, and you believe the fee you ask for is a bargain compared to the value you offer, you will discover that sales seem to just happen.
Part of getting to that point is understanding a few things about the way you think as well as the way your prospects think. As a coach, you most likely have a strong desire to see your clients succeed, so much so that if you didn’t need the money, you would coach for free.
What if that very drive to help people was actually hurting your coaching clients? What if instead of lowering your prices to help out a struggling prospect you raised them?
If you’re like most coaches I work with, you base your fees on what you see going on in the marketplace. Many coaches admit they don’t have any strategy when it comes to setting their fees. They just set them at a level they think people will be willing to pay.
I’ve also found most coaches believe their sales will suffer if they raise their prices. Maybe you feel that way. If you were selling a commodity like sugar or salt you’d be right, but coaching isn’t a commodity, it’s a custom-tailored solution to your prospect’s needs. Your prospect can’t go to Wal-Mart and buy coaching. They can’t even go to another coach and get exactly what you offer because you have unique insights and experiences no one else has.
That makes you and your solution something that can’t be shopped. It also means that if you know how to differentiate yourself in the marketplace you’ll never need to compete on price again.
Let me put it to you a different way. For your clients, what is the value of the result you deliver? What dollar value would they put on it? Do you know? Do you take the time in your enrollment process to demonstrate the value you know you can deliver to them? If you don’t, you’ll find yourself either defending or discounting your fees and services.
If you’re a business coach it’s easy to demonstrate the return on investment. If you show your prospect how to capture an additional $100,000 in revenue year in and year out, and they expect to own the business for another 10 years, then you have just found them an additional $1 million dollars.
Now as much as the prospect wants that additional $1 million dollars, the real value is what that additional revenue means to them and their family. How will their life and their business be different?
If you’re a life coach, the transformation isn’t always something you can measure in dollars and cents, but you can still quantify the value. Let’s say you’re working with someone who’s goal is to find the love of their life. You help them get clear on exactly what that looks like and who it is they’re searching for. When they find that special person, what’s that worth? Most coaches say their clients tell them it’s priceless.
I hope this illustrates that you can quantify the result (or transformation) regardless of the type of coaching you do. Your prospects aren’t buying 12 months of coaching, email contact, weekly sessions or any other support system you offer. Those are important, but it’s not what your prospects buy. They buy the transformation you can help them achieve in their business, as well as your belief in your ability to help them achieve that transformation.
So when you’re doing a strategy session with a prospect and you find yourself spending all your time explaining how you set up accountability or structure each session; or you show them the support systems you have in place or outline how your coaching process works, in reality you’re setting yourself up for one of two objections you hate to hear as a coach – “I want to think about it” or “I can’t afford it.”
It’s important to understand that selling is NOT about getting someone to do something they don’t want to do. It’s NOT about convincing someone of anything. Done properly, selling is about helping a prospect discover what their real needs are and what the solution is for those needs. If you’re the best solution for them and you help them see that, in most cases they will hire you. If you’re not the best solution, you should be able to point them in the right direction.
So stop trying to sell your coaching. Instead, shift your focus to your prospect’s problems and truly help them understand exactly what those problems are. Then and only then are you equipped to offer the proper solution.
When you make this shift you’re going to find out that prospecting is no longer something you dread. The reason most coaches tell me they don’t prospect for new clients is they can’t stand rejection. I understand that. Who wants to be rejected? No one. But if you reframe your prospecting efforts so the goal is not about making a sale but instead you make your prospecting all about identifying a need and that you offer a solution for that need, you will never get rejected or fail again. Now, that doesn’t mean you will never hear “No” again – it just means your prospect doesn’t have a sense of urgency to fix the problem you identified.
Here’s how this works. When you reach out to someone, your goal is to see if they have a need for what you offer and if they’re someone you’d like to work with. If they meet both criteria, you see if they’re interested in moving the relationship to the next stage which is where you uncover their real need. If they don’t meet both criteria, then they aren’t a good fit and you politely end the conversation. Your call is a success either way because the goal was to qualify – not sell.
One business coach I had the privilege of working with (we’ll call her Kate) was struggling to enroll enough clients to make the kind of money she needed to live on. In fact, Kate was beginning to question whether she should continue coaching. She was seriously considering taking a job to supplement her income. Kate, like most coaches I work with, really loved helping her clients. The problem was her existing clients had convinced her they couldn’t afford her fee. So she found herself reducing her fees to the point that she could barely afford to stay in business.
Maybe you have a similar situation. You really want to help your clients and then they explain they can’t afford your fees. So you try to help them out and lower your fee.
Put this into perspective by answering this question. Have you ever had a prospect tell you there was no way they could afford what you were offering – only to find out later that they invested in a different program? You have, haven’t you? Most of the time when that happens the program they invested in was even more expensive than the one you proposed to begin with. The fact is, when the sales process isn’t done properly, the objection I CAN’T AFFORD IT gets created.
So what do you do about it? Kate and I spent time digging into the value she brought her clients. We were able to calculate that in most cases she was able to help her clients generate an additional $100,000 or more per year in their business. The wonderful part is the processes she helped them implement work year in and year out. Which means in many cases this transformation she produced was worth millions of dollars to the business owner.
We also worked on the real reason people hire a coach which is for the transformation you help them achieve. It doesn’t matter if you’re a life coach or a business coach, your prospects are buying the transformation you help them achieve.
As we dug deeper into the true value Kate provided we found it was much more than just money. She helped them reach their goals and dreams. She helped them enjoy a sense of peace and accomplishment that had been a struggle or impossible for them to achieve before. She helped them literally work less and earn more so they could invest their time in their family or other worthwhile causes.
As Kate discovered the real reason people buy she found that she was no longer reluctant to reach out to prospects. She was now on a mission. Since her new goal was to see if they were a good fit she no longer felt like she was failing if they said “No.” The call or effort was a success either way.
Kate also discovered how much her prospects really believed she could help them when she stopped trying to sell them her services and instead focused on uncovering their real issues or pain that were holding them back. In fact, she was surprised to find out that the close of the sale really does take care of itself when the process of discovery and presentation is done right.
Kate learned the close is a natural by-product of a well-crafted presentation. Like most coaches, Kate though that if she just got better at closing or overcoming objections she could enroll more clients. By showing Kate that’s not where she needed to spend her efforts we put the joy back into her enrollment process while eliminating the fear of failure and rejection.
For Kate, the other benefit was realizing she could raise her fees which in turn attracted a more committed client. And because she was now getting a higher fee she could afford to invest additional time into her clients if they needed it – without worrying about making ends meet.
Kate told us after implementing what she had learned and signing over $70k in new coaching agreements in the first two months of working with her that for the first time she knew she could thrive as a coach.
If you take the time to make sure you’re really sold on the transformation you deliver, and you learn how to truly discover a prospect’s needs and then tailor your solution to meet those needs, you’ll find you get few, if any, objections – and your clients will enroll without you being pushy, salesy or slimy.
About Mike McMahon
Mike McMahon is a Master Sales Coach who specializes in helping coaches and consultants master the art of enrolling high paying clients without being pushy, salesy or slimy. You can learn more at www.salesmasteryforcoaches.com