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The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make [and Their Solutions] (Part 1)

It is amazing how many coaches, solopreneurs, massage therapists, lawyers, etc. are competent at what they do--yet suffer financially. They are doing good, but they are not doing well--that is, they are struggling financially, mentally, and emotionally.

 

There are reasons for this. I have identified the top 6 reasons--and their solutions-that I have found in my experience in my own business as well as observing those who still have a "practice".

 

The first 3 are presented to you below. The next three will be in Part 2 in a couple of weeks.

 

Mistake #1:  Thinking "Money and Spirituality are in Conflict"

 

For some, "capitalism" is a bad word. Which makes sense. "Capitalism" was a phrase coined by the biggest enemy of the free market and free enterprise to ever live--Karl Marx. Yet, we keep that inaccurate and pejorative moniker. We were taught for thousands of years that to profit was bad--and then this meme was punctuated by the evils of capitalism laid out by a failed mathematician who had no foresight into the services industry--never mind respect for private property and Natural Law and was therefore essentially a thief on a grand scale. Even though with the rise of capitalism in the mid-1800s, our standard of living has more than trebled, never mind that our life expectancy has doubled in a short time as a result...it...is...bad.

 

While there was a a time when one could only profit by exploitation and manipulation or by inheritance or plunder, this has not been accurate for nearly 300 years.

 

[Before commenting on this, please read my series of articles on Spiritual Capitalism, found here: Read First || Read Second || Read Third.]

 

Maybe we should consider throwing off the chains of thinking birthed centuries before the Enlightenment and even before the founding of this Country and came to a head--and have been proven to be inaccurate, ineffective, and fundamentally broken in the last Century.

 

The truth is, it is not only possible to come from service and contribution in a "for profit" environment--that is to live a purpose-filled life--but also to profit well from it and to live prosperously. It takes some personal work--being mindful of your thinking, cleaning out your unconscious imprints of guilt and shame, and to constantly be of service while having sufficient esteem for your self to recognize the value you are bringing to another's life and to have them provide that value monetarily in exchange. It takes a lack of attachment to "closing that deal" and being more focused on service and "opening relationships"--and much more.

 

Actually, I have found what can be provided to our clients lives is priceless to them. Fees are insignificant when weighed against what the work we do in their lives will make possible. It is not a commodity. It is a gateway to greater freedom and happiness. We can live a spiritually oriented life--and integrate free-market, service-based principles into that.

 

By doing so, we integrate our spiritual and our financial life. This frees us from guilt, shame, and allows us to flourish spiritually while prospering financially.

 

Mistake #2: Underdeveloped Skill: Sales, Marketing, and Ethical Influence

 

We have all had negative experience with sales people. Not sales professionals, but sales people--that is, people who want to "close a deal" rather than open a relationship. And most sales trainers teach techniques with little regard for a philosophical base or grounding. I do not support that.

 

I used to think sales was a dirty word. That was until I realized that until I could influence people to take action in their lives--leverage them beyond their limitations--I could never really do much good in the world. You can only be a positive agent for change if you can inspire others to move beyond their current thinking--the thinking that has them in their current life situation and has stopped them from being fully free and thriving.

 

Therefore--if you truly want to do good in the world, it becomes your duty--yes, your duty--to assist others in overcoming their limitations. That means learning to sell and market your services in a compelling way that comes from service and contribution while combining that with powerful tool of influence.

 

You must gain those skills if you want to make a difference and be prosperous.

 

While it may be hard to swallow at first [took me years to accept] you must be a sales person first--that is you must be able to enroll others in a vision--to live your purpose and prosper.

 

Mistake #3: A Lack of Structure: Service, Sustainability, and Packages

 

One you are coming from service and contribution, you begin to consider what would best serve the client. Most practitioners have session-by-session practices or monthly packages, but they do not have comprehensive packages that have stages and phases in them. How many people out there have dabbled here and dabbled there and never really bucked down and did the deep work to reveal greater depths within themselves? I have found most clients approach their personal development this way. "Well, I have tried this and I have tried that...", [but I never really got what I needed that was deeper].

 

The best thing you can do as a coach or a practitioner is to find a way to create a compelling 3-stage or 3-phase offering that allows the client to reveal greater and greater depths or to attain greater and greater heights. For a massage therapist, this may mean something like:

  • Healing
  • Activating
  • Opening
For a Coach it may mean something like:
  • Clarity
  • Tool Gathering/Education
  • Purpose/Action
I am just pulling these out of my pocket and tossing them out there. The point is that if you truly want to be of service to your clients, you will develop a phased program so that they finally make a deep commitment to themselves--and they finally achieve that elusive transformation--mentally, emotionally, and perhaps spiritually, they have been looking for for years. In the process, you create a sustainable practice with monthly payments coming in--and you get to then relax and be certain you are always acting with integrity and acting ethically. People only get slimy when they are desperate. You owe it to your clients to create a deep compelling offer that is only offered with integrity--and you owe it to your self to be prosperous as a purpose driven helper. Everyone wins. And wouldn't you like to be in a position to say to to a prospect you really do not want to work with? Of course you would. Wouldn't you like to always operate with full integrity and ethics intact coming from service and contribution? Of course you would. Wouldn't you like to provide comprehensive solutions to your clients so you can make a deep and lasting positive impact on their lives? [The next 3 top problems/errors and solutions will be handled in part 2]

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Financial Sustainability | Package Offerings

Because we are dedicated to helping coaches and practitioners reach "financial sustainability" as well as their clients maintaining "sustainability of change", nothing can be more important than putting together an offering for clients that is 3-dimensional and saying no to a session-by-session weekly commitment model.

What that means is designing a package where the offering is coherent, cogent, and comprehensive. Where the client is moving through stages or phases that logically fit together in a holarchical way--each stage building on the previous stage or phase.

But recently, nascent practitioners have been asking me essentially this questions: "what if I am not yet clear about my offering? How can I figure out what to offer them when I am so unclear yet about my deepest gifts?" I want to answer this very important question because I have noticed that requiring the apprentices to come up with a full offering can be overwhelming and does not assist them in professional evolution, but has them contract and regress.

So, backing up to more fundamental ways to build your practice when you are new:

  • Go ahead and work session by session at first. Schedule that single session
  • Let them know at the beginning of the session, that once they experience you, at the end of the session, you will offer them an opportunity to sign up for more--then drop the subject and focus on their needs and outcomes
    • This has them know what to expect and takes away any objection to you offering it--and gives the client a smoother more integrated experience
  • At the end of the session ask them what they liked about it
  • Ask them if they want more of that
  • Provided you were effective, they will say yes 
  • Offer them a package of 4 or 6 session with a discount if they buy them all now. For instance--buy 6 get 1 free or some such offer.

All too often I have seen practitioners say some version of "if they liked the work..." or worse, "if it is meant to be then they will ask for more".  Not necessarily. Sometimes they just need you to ask. Sometimes they get distracted. And even if true, I have found it is all too often a gussied-up way to avoid what is realling going on--fear and anxiety about selling--while pretending to have a "accept whatever happens" orientation to life.

Rarely, do I sense it is an authentic developmental stage they have reached.

Most importantly, if you truly want to be successful, you need to integrate the fact that no matter how good you are or effective at your craft, you are the locus of responsibility to make things happen.

That, and if you really care about your clients having permanent sustainable change you will offer them a package. Would you go to the gym once and expect to be able to compete in weight lifting? Would you go once and think you have reached a new level of fitness?

Hardly.

So it is with the muscles of your [and your clients'] internal experience. Help them get the exercise they need so they can attain a new level of mental and emotional fitness--a new baseline of success and fulfillment in their life, and you get financial sustainability in the process.  Together, we all create a better world.

Now that is a true win-win-win.

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How to Get Clients and Testimonials In 10 Days

After the last piece on how to get clients and testimonials the same day, I had a few people ask me how to get clients if they had few or none in the past. In other words: what is the second fastest way to get clients.

The short answer is: give a talk or an evening intro to your work.

However, there are several structures you will need to have in place to make this an effective event for client acquisition.

  • Give people no less than 10 days notice, but no more than 2 weeks notice about your event. This falls in the window of them making sure they schedule it, without being so far out in the future that they wait and forget.
  • Give a cap to how many people will be there [limit it to 8 or 10 or 12] and require an RSVP. This does several things:
    • It creates more urgency for them to RSVP
    • It gives you [if you are not used to speaking in front of a large group] a manageable-sized audience so you can become comfortable with the whole affair
    • It allows you to then publish how many spots are left for the evening in a follow up email [and really, 1 email is never enough and 4 is likely too many in 2 weeks]
  • Make sure you open with the fact that you are obviously there for 2 reasons [say this in the first 1 minute of your talk]:
    • To provide value such that their lives are improved whether you see each other again or not
    • "obviously" to market your services [at the end]
    • At the end, let them know what is available, but simply pass around an interest sheet that lets them opt in to a free exploratory session, or your email newsletter. Low commitment level makes it easier.
    • When you open in this manner it does 3 things:
      • it sets context and appropriately sets expectations
      • it is honest and direct and also takes away the objection they will have at the end that they were not expecting a sales pitch--tell them to expect it
      • gives them an opportunity to walk out if the do not want that experience
  • Bear in mind, you have 48 hours before the prospective clients lead begins to cool off--they become less clear on what they were inspired by or moved by to ask you to contact them
  • Do not waste your time or money on letting them take your card [or even having them, really, or brochures for that matter]. If you truly want to be of service, then get their permission to contact them and take the guess work and variables out of it.
  • If you are publishing to multiple lists/target markets, you can do this ever two weeks, however, if you are publishing the same type of event to the same list, be aware that what happens is that if you do it more that once ever 6 weeks they will begin to take you for granted--"Oh, s/he'll be doing this in a couple weeks...so" and they won't come.

I hope this makes a difference in your life and in your business today.

In Service,

Jason

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On Ego Development | Self Esteem

Your Self Worth is a Settled Matter 

I wrote this to a client in an email and thought it may be useful for others to read:

The mountain we climb in Personal Evolution is a bit like a mirage while hiking/climbing a mountain. You could stop now and camp for the night--or say screw it and go back down the mountainside. You can also see there is a reachable summit. So you choose to go further--yet...when you reach what you thought would be the summit, there is yet another summit that materializes out of the mist. And this goes on forever. There is no omega point except when you choose to simply stop and rest. 

Each of us have that choice every day. For some, we still consciously choose to continue to deepen our depths--and plumb just behind them. There is no end or bottom to the depth, there are only unplumbed depths. For others, they have achieved a high enough peak, that there is no motivation--no real life reason--to climb the next.  And there are others I will not list in the interests of time. I choose--consciously--to evolve further when I should or must--that is when my business or financial or relational results are inhibited by some aspect of myself. Otherwise, I am pretty darned content with where I am at--BUT I still need to have constant attention on where I need to be for others in the context in which I want to move with greater velocity--or frankly, sometimes, ANY velocity.

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How to Get Clients and Testimonials Today

A question I hear often is this:

"What is the quickest way to get new clients."

It is a good question and since I have heard it so many times recently, I thought I would give you all the strategy I recommend. If you use this simple approach, you can get new clients and testimonials today.

1. Call up clients you have worked with in the past to see how they are doing.

2. When they start talking about what a great experience it was to work with you and the results they experienced in their life ask them if you can quote them on that. Type it up and send it to them for their approval. This takes the one obstacle out of the way for them--the time and energy it would take to write it up.

And of course ::: ALWAYS make sure they have approved of the testimonial before publishing it anywhere.

3. Once they have told you exactly how great it was to work with you ask them if they know anyone else who might enjoy that kind of experience. Of course they will.

4. Ask them to get that person's permission to give you their contact information. That way, you can be proactive and again, if you are truly being of service, you will take the variable out of the equation.

Which variable?

They may forget--they may lose your information. They may get scared. If you use a passive approach by waiting for them to call not only has their life not been served, but you have lost business. 

I can not count the number of times a prospective client told me that they had simply forgotten to call me and they were grateful I had called.

Four simple steps and you have either a testimonial, or a referral--or both. I hope this makes a difference in your business and in your life today.

In Service,

Jason

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