When it comes to discovery sessions, a lot of coaches put undue pressure on themselves to “seal the deal” at the end of the conversation. I know because I used to be one of them. Guilty as charged here.
The model looks like this: a potential client books an initial consultation, which is basically like a sample coaching session. You coach your heart out, and then at the end, you invite that person to become a client.
In this scenario, it’s really easy to assume, “If I coach the heck out of this person, they will have no choice but to hire me.”
I have two problems with this line of thinking.
First off, if the person doesn’t say yes at the end of that conversation, it means you must not be a skilled coach. And putting that kind of pressure on the meeting doesn’t set anyone up for success, you or the client.
Plus, as you and I both know, there are a number of factors that go into the decision to hire a coach. And more often than not, that decision takes time.
Secondly, when it’s time to talk money, it’s like a switch is flipped inside the coach (ahem… me). You serve, serve, serve, a transformation happens, you’re in the zone, connected to your potential client and then click.
In enters the sales robot. You either rush through the selling part because you’re nervous, or you oversell and make the client uncomfortable. #thisisawkward
Now, there are some coaches who swing too far in the opposite direction believing that selling is never okay. Instead, they rely solely on service. Their hope is that if they’re generous enough, offer enough conversations, resources, and time that their generosity will eventually convert into clients.
This method may work, but it sure is a long road to filling your client roster.
And you also risk falling into a holding pattern where the potential client becomes very accustomed to having free access to your services. As somebody’s mom used to say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”
But I think I have found a compromise between these two extremes.
It’s really a happy medium between the high-pressure one call close and the no pressure abyss of over-serving.
It’s all about adding value, providing a clear roadmap, and giving both you and your client a clear structure to move forward. Plus, it’s really loving, which is a cool bonus. (Woohoo!)
Here’s what that middle ground looks like.
Step One: remember to always come from a place of service.
Step Two: invite people to have a sample coaching experience with you. Call it an enrollment conversation, a free session, or an exploratory call. The point is to connect, discuss the client’s dreams and fears and get clear about how you may be able to help them transform.
Step Three is the most important. Instead of switching gears at the end of your consultation – trying to enroll a client on the spot or sending them off on their merry way, trusting the Universe will send them back in due time – craft a clear and compelling invite letter.
In this letter, you’ll clearly summarize:
1. The goals and desires your client holds near and dear.
2. The obstacles that stand in front of them,
3. A clear prescription for exactly how you can help them overcome the obstacles in their way to accomplish what they want.
That last piece is crucial because it allows you to neatly communicate your blue ocean and also turn your intangible skills into tangible, measurable, concrete benefits your client can see.
So for example, let’s say you’re a relationship coach. You just had a free session with a woman who, at the end of your time together, said she wants to discuss everything with her best friend first. Your invite letter allows her to communicate to her husband the tangible significance she will experience through coaching with you. She can now hand him a solid action plan instead of just trying her darndest to recall everything from memory.
If you’re a business coach and provide a complimentary session to a small business owner, he now has time to discuss your plan with his partner and easily communicate the value that you’re offering them as clients as he references the invitation letter you’ve crafted.
If you’re worried about how to introduce this letter at the end of the discovery session, never fear. I usually say something like “I want to be really thoughtful about how I can help you, so I am going to take the next couple of days to think about what we’ve discussed, and I’ll identify the best way I think we can work together.
From there, I will just send a letter your way, and let’s plan on talking again next week.” And then in the letter, I am even more explicit. I tell them the exact date that I am going to follow up to answer any questions and talk about the best way to move forward.
The invite letter is a fan favorite inside my Client Surge course and we’ve discovered that it’s often the one thing that tips the client from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘yes’.
Best of all, crafting this letter also gives you a bit of breathing room so you don’t have to worry about that one call close. And it sets in place a clear follow up so that the process is no longer awkward or ambiguous for you or your clients.
Have you been struggling with the one call close? Or have you figured out a happy medium that works best for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so hit me up over in the Coaches on a Mission Facebook Group.