If You Can’t Sell – You Can’t Coach 2

Presumably you have read Part one of ‘If You Can’t Sell – You Can’t Coach”, and are up to speed with where we are.

If not, then I suggest you click the link above and check it out, otherwise this won’t make much sense because you need the full picture.

We talked about how every Life Coach is a sales person, and the importance of being able to convey your message clearly and concisely and in a way that helps solve a problem for your potential client.

Just to reiterate, if your potential clients don’t believe you can solve their problem they’re not going to hire you PERIOD.

Similarly, if they don’t perceive they have a problem they will never call you.

There are ways of creating a need that the prospect didn’t know existed, but I’ll leave that for another post.

So let’s take another look at the previous scenario and how it could have been more effective.

Take Two – Selling By Solving Problems

You: Hi this is Super Life Coach.

Prospect: Hi I was calling to inquire about Life Coaching.

You: Sure, how can I help you?

Prospect: I’m not really sure, but I’m fairly unhappy with my job.

You: I see, and what impact is that having on you at the moment?

Prospect: I’m struggling to sleep because of chronic stress and my relationship with my husband isn’t as good as it could be because my mind is always on work and worrying about what I have to do tomorrow.

You: I can see why that would be a concern for you. Please go on.

Prospect: I work as an attorney and I am spending more and more time away from my family. I earn great money and all, but I just don’t seem to feel fulfilled in what I do.

You: How important is it for you to feel fulfilled in your life?

Prospect: Well very, I guess.

You: And how important is it for you to go to bed every night knowing you’re going to sleep and you and your husband had spent quality and enjoyable time together.

Prospect: That would be cool.

You: Just cool?

Prospect: No, really awesome.

You: On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being you just found your misplaced cell phone awesome and 10 being winning the lottery type awesome, what are we talking about?

Prospect: I think at least an 8, maybe even a 9.

You: Wow, that really is important to you and I can see why you called me! What will you feel like in 5 years time if you do nothing to remedy your current situation?

Prospect: <sigh> Pretty shitty if I’m being honest

You: Yeh I can imagine and I can tell how important it is for you to get this sorted as soon as possible as I’m sure you don’t want it dragging on, right?

Prospect. Exactly.

You: Ok, so if I could help you lower your stress levels and thus sleep better, spend more quality time with your husband and get a clearer idea on whether your career is sustainable long-term, is that something you would be interested in?

Prospect: Of course!

You: Excellent because that is pretty much what I help my clients with on a daily basis and have been doing so for the last few years and I have hundreds of satisfied clients all over the world.

So if you’re ready as pumped and excited to move forward as I am then we can schedule something in and get you up and running.

Note: I have obviously condensed the sales part for ease of reading. Of course few calls will go so quickly or easily and more often than not a prospect will want to ask you some questions

Take Two – Explained

You: Hi this is Super Life Coach.

Prospect: Hi I was calling to inquire about Life Coaching.

You: Sure, how can I help you?

Prospect: I’m not really sure, but I’m fairly unhappy with my job.

You: I see, and what impact is that having on you at the moment?

This is the first point I’m trying to uncover the pain and not just rushing to solve an abstract problem.

Prospect: I’m struggling to sleep because of chronic stress and my relationship with my husband isn’t as good as it could be because my mind is always on work and worrying about what I have to do tomorrow.

You: I know that would be a concern for most people and I hear it a lot. Please go on.

I’m empathizing here and trying to help her understand that she’s not weird and most people would struggle under such circumstances. It also alludes to the fact I have experience in dealing with such issues.

Prospect: I work as an attorney and I am spending more and more time away from my family. I earn great money and all, but I just don’t seem to feel fulfilled in what I do.

You: How important is it for you to feel fulfilled in your life?

This is crucial and it’s the first attempt to help the client understand rather being unfulfilled is not acceptable. People will tell you that without ever having considered the consequences.

Prospect: Well very, I guess

You: And how important is it for you to go to bed every night knowing you’re going to sleep and you and your husband had spent quality and enjoyable time together.

Again I am highlighting the clients pain, not to make them feel bad , but to help them understand that compromise is not acceptable and they deserve to be happy.

Prospect: That would be cool

You: Just cool?

I’m now trying to get their total buy in. Cool is ok, but I have t-shirts that are cool (in my mind at least), but I wouldn’t pay several hundred dollars for any of them.

Prospect: No, really awesome.

Great, we have the buy-in!

You: On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being you just found your misplaced cell phone awesome and 10 being winning the lottery type awesome, what are we talking about?

Prospect: I think at least an 8, maybe even a 9.

You: Wow, that really is important to you and I can see why you called me! What will you feel like in 5 years time if you do nothing to remedy your current situation?

It may sound like overkill or I’m trying to torture the poor woman, but I’m gently reminding her of the importance of doing something now by future pacing her.

Prospect: <sigh> Pretty shitty if I’m being honest

You: Yeh I can imagine and I can tell how important it is for you to get this sorted as soon as possible as I’m sure you don’t want it dragging on, right?

I’m using a presupposition here and I’d deliver the last part as a tag question. If you have done the course you’ll know how effective tag questions can be!

Prospect. Exactly.

You: Ok, so if I could help you lower your stress levels and thus sleep better, spend more quality time with your husband and get a clearer idea on whether your career is sustainable long-term, and is that something you would be interested in?

I’m doing a couple of things at this stage. Firstly, I’m reiterating all her issues to demonstrate I’ve been listening and have grasped her situation fully. something that in sales is called testing intention so see if she is really serious about hiring me. I’m also building up the value of hiring me.

Prospect: Of course.

She’s serious and a client waiting to happen.

You: Excellent because that is pretty much what I help my clients with on a daily basis and have been doing so for the last few years and I have hundreds of satisfied clients all over the world.

So if you’re ready as pumped and excited to move forward as I am then we can schedule something in and get you up and running.

Closing The Sale Or Converting The Prospect (it’s all the same)

The final part is almost an assumed close and can work very well if you have done your job properly in uncovering the problem, highlighting the problem and offering a solution to the problem.

An assumed close will not work if you haven’t done all that.

You may think it’s worked when the client/customer agrees to sign up, but look out for buyers remorse and a cancelation coming your way.

Above is the technical way to deal with a sale. it’s not complicated once you have done it a few times and it creates win/win solutions.

If a prospective client wants time to think, then give them time to think.

That will mean you have lost control of the sales process and it’s in the lap of the gods as to whether she signs up, but be that’s just how it goes sometimes, so be respectful.

Similarly if a prospect says ‘no’ adamantly then respect their decision.*

You can high pressure people to buy if you like, but they’ll make horrible clients.

My personal close is a lot more laid back.

I never use an assumed close because they remind me too much of lame sales people who haven’t got a clue, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work and I’m against them at all.

I will often encourage prospects to go away and think about it and even talk to other coaches.

This actually can work well, almost in a reverse psychology kind of way and in demonstrating I’m confident enough to let them put the phone down without gaining a firm commitment.

Is it the best way to close the most deals?

Probably not, but as with coaching you have to find a style that suits you.

* Rather hypocritically, in B2B sales I’d never take the first no and neither would any competent sales person, but this isn’t B2B it’s B2C.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to get your head round in these two posts and I’m highly confident that most people who started reading the first post either won’t get to the end of the second, or won’t implement the information.

You can stand out by doing both.

Take your time reading it and even copy it if you like. Then you can change it to suit your style and use it as an informal script if you like.

Something that most people don’t know, is that really good sales people always have a script (or scripts for different situations quite often).

It may not be a written script (although it will usually have started off that way), and it won’t sound like the ones you hear overseas telesales people thrashing around with, but it’s a script in their head nonetheless.

It’s tough getting inquiries so any time you invest now to increase the likelihood of converting them will reap huge dividends over the years.

If you have any questions please ask away in the comments.

And if you have any topics you would like me to write on, please ask in the Google+ community and make sure you tag me with +timbrownson.

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15 thoughts on “If You Can’t Sell – You Can’t Coach 2”

  1. Hey Tim,

    I appreciate you breaking down your dialogue so clearly. Certainly, as a coach, I would need to tweak it to fit my style, but that is tremendously helpful on how to have that initial call and your thought process. i will definitely be keeping this one to refer back to. Thanks for taking the time to write a post to answer this question! As a former teacher, the marketing piece can feel like a challenge at times, but I do realize to be successful as a coach, I need to come up with something that makes sense for me and works! Take care.

    Reply
  2. Thanks, Tim, for unpacking the “complimentary call.” You really are a wizard with words – especially when you strike for the heart. Having this spelled out helps to deal with the inner critic one often finds uninvited in the service professions.

    And my fellow-former-teachers), isn’t teaching selling after all? I can think of times when lectures landed like duds — or even earlier when even three year olds weren’t buying what I had for them; all students responded more enthusiastically (and learned better) when they found answers to their unique problems. I love this way of thinking for coaching.

    Reply
    • You’re right of course, teaching is selling.

      All the amazing teachers have a great ability to communicate ideas which is the essence of what we’re talking about here.

      Reply
  3. I love these 2 posts. I am in sales, and it is my plan to become a life coach. (I actually just signed up for your January course). I don’t love my job, but one of the things that I am making sure to cultivate (because it helps me now and because I’ll need it later on with this new endeavor) is asking the prospective client questions that are designed to reveal the impact of continuing to mire in the status quo. The goal is to bring the prospective client to conclude themselves (through questioning) that not taking an action is much more insidious than they are currently aware. This sounds exactly like what you are talking about!

    Thank you for this post, I really enjoyed reading it.

    Reply
    • Firstly Kate, thanks so much for signing up I’m pumped to have you on board and look forward to getting to know you!

      Secondly, you’re entirely right, there are a lot of transferable skills from sales to coaching, and asking great questions is most definitely one of them, which is why I really drill down on it on the course.

      I actually dug out Motivational Interviewing the other day to take another look at it. It is really for therapists and counselors as you rightfully say, but my wife is doing her PhD and it was mentioned so I shall take a peek again.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  4. Oh, and another thing I want to add here is that I suspect that these same kinds of questions might help people make changes in their lives AFTER the sale is over. It reminds me of Motivational Interviewing (the little that I currently know about it anyway), which is apparently a very effective counseling technique.

    Reply
  5. Great Initial Coaching Inquiry 101! I recently had several such inquiries from prospective clients. I was recommended to them by the people they knew and trusted, so that would seem to be an obvious advantage. Our conversations followed, more or less, Tim’s model. I have not signed anyone yet. I have noticed that all those encounters had one thing in common – the potential clients were rushing into the price or cost of coaching. I have been wondering two things:
    – did I undermine the value of coaching (myself as a coach)
    – would the cost even come into the picture if they felt that I’ve got what it takes to help them solve their problems? (In all cases, the problems have been chronic and long term).

    Reply
    • Wow that’s tough without more info!

      Are you going to be on my free webinar next month?

      If so this may make a great topic to dig deeper into.

      Reply
      • I am now. I know that this is relevant to especially new coaches. BTW, how do you define a “new coach”? Someone brand new to the field, or someone who, for example, is still struggling to make a living being a coach?

        Reply
        • It’s not something that had ever crossed my mind Renata. I guess a new coach would be somebody who has only just started, but equally the information is applicable to a coach struggling, especially if they’re not converting at least 50% of the inquiries they get.

          Reply
          • OK. I understand that the 50% is an arbitrary number but you may be on to something with it. Let’s explore, if you will, at the upcoming free webinar please.

  6. Thanks so much for these posts, Tim! My former profession had the clients coming to me whether they wanted to or not 🙂 I was a psych resident & the patients were usually brought in by court order, which was tough on them but it meant I never had to worry about going out & getting a client or marketing myself. This is a particularly daunting aspect of the coaching process for me. As a new coach, I really appreciate your generosity in offering these scripts & the strategies behind them.
    My area of interest is health & wellness & I will be working on tweaking this for my own practice. I think you do a great job of balancing the necessary sales aspect with just being personable and sincere. I’m sure in the end that has a lot to do with your ability to close your sale.
    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • I have seen sales people with almost zero rapport building skills, but who understood the structure of the sale do incredibly well. I have also seen brilliant rapports builders who really didn’t understand the sales process do well.

      When you can marry the two, that’s when it really gets interesting and part of that is writing your own script.

      Good luck with it!

      Reply

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