How to Get More Coaching Clients with Fewer Strategy Sessions

Jan 31, 2022

Once you're consistently booking calls with future clients, you'll notice that you're spending a lot of time talking with prospects who aren't a great fit. And if your goal is to get more coaching clients and to serve those clients to the best of your ability, you can't exactly spend hours each week talking to prospects who aren't going to end up working with you anyway.

In this episode, I talk about the simple tool I incorporated into my sales process that helped me close more coaching clients while reducing the number of prospects I met with.

Today's topic is a follow up from the last episode, where we talked about how to book more strategy sessions and discovery calls with the Power Hour strategy. And today, we're going to address a problem that starts to happen once you begin booking more and more of these calls with prospective clients. 

So as you start booking these calls, you're going to notice that some of these people you're talking to are more “qualified” than others, and that can turn into a really huge time suck, if you're kind of just spending your day talking to prospects who are not prospective clients, who in all honesty, are not going to end up working with you. The big question of today's episode, then, is how do you prevent that? How do you book strategy sessions with only qualified leads, so that you're spending time talking to the people who are going to be more likely to end up working with you, rather than people who are not ready, or just shopping around, or just, in general, less likely to move forward with you. 

Before we can actually dive into that, we first have to answer or vote; you have to answer what qualified means for you. So in general, a qualified prospect means that they fit the profile of your ideal client, so a qualified prospect for me might look fairly different from a qualified prospect for you. But in general, there's, I would say, three types of qualification that you want your prospective clients to match. 

The first, and this is the one that people talk about the most, is financially qualified. You want to have some sense of whether your prospect is financially qualified or can afford or has access to the financial resources to work with you. The second type of qualification is what I would call situational qualification, and what I mean by that is are they in the situation that you help people get out of? Are they in a situation where you can help them? Are they in a situation where your program or working with you is going to be the best answer for them? 

The third is what I would call personality qualification, and what I mean by that is do your personalities mesh in some sort of way where you can work together? Are they open to coaching? Are they open to try new things? On the other hand, are they really resistant to change? Are they really resistant to moving forward, or, perhaps, are they just a jerk? So that third type of qualification is is it a good fit personality-wise to work together? 

I'll be honest with you—you can't predict these things with 100% accuracy. You can't predict them on a strategy call. You can't predict them before that conversation, but you can certainly begin to identify red flags or potential indicators that there might be a problem down the road, and you can do this before and during the actual strategy session. 

Today, we are talking specifically about before that strategy session. Once you've figured out what makes a qualified prospect for you, it's then time to identify what information it's important for you to have before making that phone call or before joining that Zoom meeting, because if you don't know what specific information that you need to have, you're not going to be able to get it. For example, in my own coaching business, I really want to know what a prospect has tried before to attract new clients, and I want to know how much of a priority it is for them to attract clients. Because if it's not a priority for them, well, I probably am not going to be able to sell them my program, and I probably shouldn't sell them my program, if it's not a really high priority for them. 

So you want to start to get clear on what information you want to have, and then comes the mechanism for actually getting that information prior to the call. What I recommend doing in this situation is called a pre-strategy-session form, or a pre-strategy-session questionnaire, and this is a simple form that prospects fill out when they schedule a call with you. It should be a short form with not a whole lot of questions, but you want to make sure you're asking the right questions that get you that information that you really need to have. 

For example, I'll share a little bit about what my form looks like for my business, and I'll explain a little bit about why I asked each question. The first question on my pre-strategy-session form is “How much of a priority is it for you to attract new clients right now?” The reason I asked this is kind of like I just said: if it's a high priority, they're going to be more qualified, and I'm going to be more able to help them, but if it's a low priority, then they're not really qualified, and I'm honestly probably not going to be able to help them. 

The second question I asked is really three questions wrapped into one. The question itself just says, “Tell me about your business,” and then below that, in smaller type, it says, “Who do you serve? How do you help them? How are you pricing that?” and that starts to give me a clearer picture of their business. You know, I probably already have an idea of who they're helping, but this gives me a glimpse into their offer and into how they are working with their clients—so how, for example, they are pricing their program. 

The third question I asked is “What's your current monthly revenue?” and the fourth is “What's your target monthly revenue?” Now, this is a tricky question to ask, and I'll talk a little bit about it, because this will be helpful for you if you are in an ROI-based business or you are, for example, a business coach, because this can be a little bit of a touchy subject, and you really want to make sure that you've built this level of trust before you've booked this call. Otherwise, people will be less likely to answer this question, and they may even just not book the appointment because they're kind of thrown off by this. So asking the question in this way is really only good if you are fairly established, and it's them saying, “Hey, I want to work with you.” 

Another way to ask that question to get the same basic information is to ask, in this situation, “How many clients are you currently bringing on each month?” and then, “How many clients do you want to be bringing on each month?” and that basically gives you a sense of the monthly revenue because you've just asked about the pricing, so the end result is that you get the exact same data or information about the prospect. 

My fifth question is “What's stopping you? What's stopping you from getting that target revenue or that target number of new clients a month?” and there's several reasons I asked this question: One, because I want to see who they blame. I want to see if they use this space to go off about how it's really unfair, and they've tried all these things, but nothing's worked, and they've been scammed. I want to see if they take responsibility or not; I want to see if they actually are in touch with themselves enough to place some of that responsibility on themselves, no matter what their situation has been, because a really important piece of working with me is I only work with clients who are willing and able to take responsibility for themselves, for their actions, for their business, for their results. That's a really big piece for me, and that's why I asked that. 

The other reason I asked that, and arguably, the more important reason I asked that, is to begin to dig a little bit into what their current blocks are, or what their current barriers and obstacles are, that are preventing them from reaching their goal. Because then, in the strategy session, we can start to dig into those a little bit more. 

The last question I asked is “What have you tried before to get new clients?” because I want to get a sense of what's worked for them, what hasn't worked for them, and why they think that might be the case. So it's similar to the preceding question, but this one's a little bit more specific, because I'm asking about specific tactics that they have tried. 

Now, obviously, your questions will probably look quite different from mine, especially if you are not a business or direct ROI-based coach, but the concepts are still there. If you're a wellness coach, for example, you probably want to ask how much of a priority a prospect’s health is. You probably want to ask a little bit about their current exercise and diet habits. You probably want to ask about what their goal is, and what they might see is stopping them from achieving that. So the same concepts really hold true across all niches, but the actual way that you ask those questions is what's going to vary a little bit more significantly.

Once you’ve created this form, it's really important to pay attention to how you frame it, because if you have a prospect to book that call, and then they get hit with this form, with no context or understanding of why it's important, they're less likely to fill it out, and they're honestly less likely to show up to the appointment anyway. How you frame this form is really, really important, because how your prospects respond to that is actually qualifying information in and of itself. 

For example, you may get to the point where, if someone doesn't fill out this form, you cancel the appointment, because that tells you something about how qualified they are. Now, that might vary. It might just be because your prospect is busy, but you could argue that if it is a priority for them, they'll fill it out. So there is some nuance there, certainly, but no matter what information you get from it, it's really important to pay attention to how you frame that form. For example, I frame it in a way that it communicates that “Hey, if you can just give me a little bit of background information, that'll really help me out so we can really hit the ground running and make the most of our time together.” That way, I frame it like they're doing me a favor, because in a lot of ways they are. 

On the other hand, I see a lot of the bigger coaching businesses using pretty much this exact same form, but framing it as an application. It's an application to work with us, and if you're listening to this podcast, you're probably not one of those big guys right now, which means that you probably don't want to frame your format as such. A lot of the big companies like Traffic and Funnels, Brendon Burchard, Cole Gordon, all of these, they frame it as an application because they can do that. They have that really high reputation, where they're booking hundreds and hundreds of calls every day, so it really is more like an application to work with them. But in reality, it is the exact same thing: it's a pre-qualifying form before their sales rep gets on the phone with you. 

Finally, before we wrap up today's episode, I want to address one of the big concerns that comes up, which is, well, isn't this form going to put people off? What about when people don't respond to it and fill out the form? Doesn't using a form like this just add another step to the process, and isn't that just going to lower the conversion rate from leads to calls booked? And the answer is yes, it is, and that is the point; we actually do want to, at this point, start getting fewer calls, but having higher quality ones, and all of those things help ensure that you're getting on the phone or on a Zoom call with the most qualified prospects you possibly can. So if it books you fewer calls, but higher quality calls, awesome. That's the goal. If people don't fill it out, and you end up canceling the call with them, perfect, you just saved 45 minutes of your time. 

That's exactly what this is all about: leveraging your time, and honestly, leveraging your morale a little bit more effectively, so you're having fewer conversations, but you're having more successful conversations. That not only reduces the amount of time you're spending on strategy sessions, but it actually increases your morale at the same time, because you're experiencing less rejection. And if you're an entrepreneur, specifically a solopreneur, you know how important that is. Even if the idea of creating a form like this sounds really scary, or you have concerns about it, and those concerns are valid, just give it a try and see how it goes. 

One of the beautiful things about being an entrepreneur is that you can try something for a couple of weeks, see how it goes, and if it doesn't noticeably improve things, then that's fine. You can let it go. But this is something I definitely recommend every coach start doing as soon as they're starting to book strategy sessions fairly consistently. 

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