Natural Born Coaches Marc and Karl Interview
Interviewer: I’m here with my good buddy, Marc Mawhinney, an absolute rock star of the coaching jungle. Most of you guys would have heard of him. If you haven’t, you need to hear of him, and he’s got some magic here for us in the “Six-Figure Coach Magazine.” So why don’t we get straight into it? Marc, my friend, welcome to the magazine.
Interviewee: Thanks for having me Karl.
Interviewer: Pleasure to have you here. I’ve been following you for a long time now and I’ve got a few questions for you. Let’s say that I was talking to a business coach, and they were thinking about getting started in the coaching profession. What would you say to influence them to get started as a business coach?
Interviewee: Karl, I know it sounds simplistic, but just start having conversations with business owners. There are so many people I see in the coaching world doing non-stop market research and business planning. They’re trying to have everything perfect right out of the gate, and as a result, they never get out of the gate.
Interviewer: So tell me this, you’ve got somebody starting as a coach, what would you say is the number one way for them to generate leads?
Interviewee: It goes back to just having those initial conversations and putting yourself out there. I see a lot of coaches spending way too much time tinkering with the banner on their website and doing a multitude of things that really don’t matter.
They’re afraid to get out there, and they justify their lack of progress by staying busy. They’ll work on creating a PDF or setting up a Facebook fan page. It’s like that quote by Thoreau where he says something along the lines of “it’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants; you know, the real question is – what are you busy about.”
Too many business coaches are ants scurrying around behind the scenes, and I’ve always likened the coaching industry and having a successful coaching business to fighting a war. You have to get out of that foxhole and out onto the battlefield and risk getting hit. But if you’re just hiding behind the lines so to speak and tinkering away on your website and doing nothing but unproductive busy work, you’re going to miss out on the real rewards, and unfortunately, that’s a mistake a lot of business coaches make.
Interviewer: I agree with that. I want to get a little more direct. There’s not many guys in the coaching space that I see navigating the internet better than you, more specifically, social media. What would you say to a coach just getting started and they want to market their services using social media. Give me the secret sauce for business coaches.
Interviewee: Well, the first step is to figure out where you’re potential clients are, and there are certain mediums that make more sense depending on who your targeting. You have to fish where the fish are and choose the right platform, but the other part of the equation is consistency. Most coaches aren’t coming anywhere near the output that they should be putting out there, in terms of content and value. They think, “Oh well, it’s okay to post once a day on Facebook, or once a day on LinkedIn.” That’s not nearly enough.
Coaches these days should be doing at least five times as much as they’re currently doing. Just today, I got a client from a post that I made 2 ½ years ago which I don’t even know how they stumbled across it. I had an old post offering a PDF resource or a guide, and the other day somebody commented on that post from the summer of 2015, and said, “Hey Marc, I know this is an old post but can I get that PDF?” So, I said sure. I answered him in the thread, and I sent it over.
Now, he didn’t hire me, but all of a sudden, about eight or nine people came right after him and started commenting on this post again, and one of them just ended up hiring me and we started working together today. All from a 2 ½-year-old post. And that wouldn’t have happened had I not been putting out the amount of content I do.
Interviewer: I love it. So how often should a business coach post in social media feeds?
Interviewee: Oh, I don’t know, one hundred times a day. Actually, it depends. I’ll give you an example. Facebook is where I am; that’s where I do a lot of my business, and I’m posting about ten times a day on Facebook. I post on my personal profile three to four times and sometimes more. I post in my Facebook group, The Coaching Jungle at least three to four times, and then I’m posting a few times on my fan page as well. And then I get active on LinkedIn, and I’m posting there every day. I’m doing an article every single day, and so on. And then, I send out daily emails to my email list as well.
I don’t want people to be able to turn around without bumping into Marc Mawhinney so they finally just give in and say, “You know what, I give up. I’m hiring him. I can’t fight it anymore. I’m seeing this guy when I close my eyes at night.”
Interviewer: So you would recommend a framework of ten postings every day.
Interviewee: You have to. A few years ago with Facebook, you could get away with fewer posts. But now with Facebook’s algorithms, they’re trying to drive everybody into Pang to boost posts and pay for Facebook ads, so you’re not going to be able to get away with once a day or even twice a day; not enough people are going to see it.
The other part of that is you have to put engaging content out there. You can’t just be broadcasting “buy my stuff, buy my stuff.” It’s important to have calls to action, but you have to put great content out there. But the cool thing is the more content you create the more consistent you get with it. It’s like going to the gym, except in this case you’re going to build your content-creation muscles. It’s going to get a lot easier to write content – much better content, and do it much more quickly. So, you just have to get out there and do it.
Interviewer: Yeah, I’d agree. So you say ten times a day… I can almost hear the screaming taking place right now.
Interviewee: For the record, I’m not that good with the gym. Don’t take my advice when it comes to the physical gym, but when it comes to content creation, I’m very good. Just don’t follow my lead when it comes to working out at the gym.
Interviewer: You mentioned hanging out where you’re clients are hanging out. Could you give me a simple example of where I could find a small-business coaching client online?
Interviewee: Well, a lot of those prospects are obviously using LinkedIn. You probably aren’t going to head to Instagram to find local accountants, dentists or doctors in your area. LinkedIn is probably where you’re going to find more of those types of professionals.
One thing you should consider is split-testing with different platforms. It’s the best way to find out the preferences of your target market, which ones have more of these types of desired prospects and where you get more traction and better response. Then gear your efforts more to that one. Testing is always the key.
Interviewer: So would it be more in groups or in their general feed?
Interviewee: It depends on the coach and the markets. Take for example my business; essentially, I’m a business coach for coaches for lack of a better term. That’s who I work with. Anyone that comes into my world that has a bricks and mortar business, I refer them off.
So when looking for my target market, I’m equally as active on my personal profile as I am in my Facebook group because I have a ton of coaches on my personal profile. Out of 5,000 friends, I’d guess a couple thousand at least are coaches. And then I’ve got close to 10,000 coaches in my Facebook group, so I’m active in both. I’m also cross-promoting — putting content out there in both areas, on my personal and my group.
But you’ll get a good feeling pretty quickly. I’m a big fan of Facebook groups, so if you don’t have your own group, at least get into a Facebook group that has your ideal client. Just get active, give value, answer questions, don’t be a spammer where you just pop in and within two seconds of joining the group you’re spamming. That won’t work. You’ve got to show that you’re a trusted authority, you’re an expert. And if you’re in there consistently, it’s impossible not to get business from Facebook groups, if you’re doing it right. It could take a month to get that traction going, but it’s going to happen.
Interviewer: Yes, I’d agree. That looked awesome. So your top recommendation is Facebook. Get active; provide some value; don’t sell, sell, sell; and you feel comfortable they’ll get some engagement and get some coaching clients, right?
Interviewee: Yes, and if you can’t find a group with your people in it, then you could be the person to start that group, which is actually better. Now you’re seen as the leader of the group, so that’s a great way to do it. Don’t rule it out if you think, “Oh, there’s no Facebook groups with whoever or the type of people I’m looking to attract in there.” You can be that person in that group.
Interviewer: That’s excellent Marc. So, tell me, what’s the secret sauce for signing a $24,000 coaching client versus a lower-paying one?
Interviewee: Well, my business is designed to chase away cheaple and freeple as I call them. I always say that every time a coach works for free, or charges very little, that a baby kitten dies, so that’s kind of what I say to scare people away from it. The secret sauce has a lot to do in the way you perceive yourself in the mirror.
When it comes to enforcing a higher coaching fee, the toughest people to convince isn’t the prospect, it’s really yourself. Once you’ve convinced yourself that you’re worth it, the rest is a lot easier.
For example, I just increased my fees by 33% a couple of weeks ago, and my fees were already higher than average. They’re actually quite high for our industry, and I just said, “You know what? I’m worth it, and I’m going to bump them up.” I just decided on a Thursday morning I’m going to change the pricing on my sales pages and everywhere else. So far, it hasn’t impacted my enrollments, and everything has been just cruising along as normal.
And I’m like, “Man, I should have done this a while ago. Why did I wait?” It’s a bit of a head game, a bit of a mental trick, but once you can convince yourself you’re worth it, that’s the main obstacle to overcome right there.
Interviewer: I think Dan Kennedy talks about this. He said if you want to double your prices, look your client in the eyes, look insanely confident and double them.
Interviewee: Unfortunately, most coaches have to get burnt. When I did my first big price increase, it was because I had a client who I compared to. Did you ever see the movie What about Bob? with Bill Murray?
Interviewer: Oh, yeah.
Interviewee: I was Richard Dreyfus and my client was Bob, and he was driving me nuts. Back then, I was charging about $500 a month as a newer coach. If this client sent me a message and I didn’t answer within a few minutes, he was hyperventilating and messaging me, “What’s going on?” I finally said, “You know what, I want to bump these fees up to keep people like this out of here.”
Everything I do now, I don’t have any offerings, even my hands-off stuff. I have a print newsletter that goes out monthly called “Secret Coach Club.” That’s $97 U.S. for 16 pages. Now, some people would say, “Oh, my God, 16 pages for $100, that’s crazy.” I specifically do that because I know that they’ll implement the things that they learn in there. But I also do that to keep the riff-raff out, and the people who are the freeple and the cheaple. It works great for my sanity and for my business. So I highly recommend you increase your fees to — I hate to say it, keep the garbage out.
Interviewer: You and I have chatted about this before, but I’m a huge Tim Ferriss fan, and his big thing is coming up with lifestyle hacks. So question for you, what would be the number one hack you would give a business owner trying to take it up a level?
Interviewee: My number one hack to scale up a business would focus on pricing. It’s so important that the people you attract are higher quality clients, who are more invested, and they’ve got skin in the game. Ironically, they’ll bug you less than the clients that you let in through the door who are not paying much, which is kind of weird, but it’s true.
It all comes down to the quality of client that you have. After that, you’ve got to start bringing things in that allow you to gain leverage. That’s what I’ve found with my business when I brought in my online programs, the print newsletter, and all my other things. I wasn’t as reliant on my one-on-one and group coaching.
So you have to go to those things to scale up. If you have just one-on-one and group, you can get to $100,000, $200,000 a year. But it’s going to be hard to get over and above that because you only have so many hours in the day and you’re essentially selling your time for money.
Interviewer: I 100% agree with raising your pricing. Just stare them in the eyes, double your prices. And see what happens.
Interviewee: There’s a coach I know who doubled his prices on a Skype call with a prospect, and this was audio by the way, not a video Skype call. They eventually got down to that awkward time when dollars and cents are discussed, and the prospect said, “Okay, how much is it?”
The coach I know shot out this crazy high price, and he told me that he shoved his fist in his mouth to keep himself from saying anything else because there’s a temptation to justify it, or to haggle or negotiate or whatever. He literally had his fist in his mouth, and he had his teeth marks on his hand by the time he got done. He said it took the guy about 20 seconds to agree to do it, and said, “Yeah, sure.” He said, “That was the longest 20 seconds of my life…. it felt like 20 minutes.”
Interviewer: I’ve had that same experience with my clients. You just say to yourself, “I can’t believe they went for it.” That’s a great hack. Marc, thank you so much. That was amazing information and I know our readers will benefit from it big time.
About Karl Bryan
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.