Business Mistakes

Business Mistakes

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What do they say about mistakes? They happen, right? Well, for coaches, we can’t let too many mistakes happen or else we’ll be out of business before we could say, “Whoops, I won’t do that again.”

Why be concerned about making mistakes?

Isn’t failure feedback? Sure it is, but for coaches, minimizing the amount of times we fail or make mistakes will help keep us on track with our own goals as coaches, keep clients and prospects flowing in, keep clients moving towards their own goals with our help, and above all, keep our coaching businesses operating at optimal capacity.

Now, while many of the mistakes outlined in this chapter are covered in different parts of Rich Coach Broke Coach, I’m bringing up a few of them here specifically because if you don’t watch out for them, well, you know what can happen:

CONSEQUENCES = OUCH!

So, the following common mistakes happen to all coaches at one time or another. As coaches, we must constantly be on the lookout for some of these mistakes and do our best to try to avoid them.

Rich Coach Broke Coach by Bart SmithWhether your a seasoned coach or new to coaching, my hope is that you will learn something new (or be reminded about something to watch out for) from this chapter to help you be even more successful in your coach business pursuits!

  • Thinking clients will refer you business just because you did a good job with them. Clients need to be asked, nudged, prodded, reminded, and then asked again.
  • Losing clients (leaving money on the table) or turning them away (losing money-making opportunities, because you don’t have products, eCourses, etc. in place. Work on those and stop losing money.
  • Asking your clients what they would pay for your services. This sounds like a good idea, “pay what you (the client) think (our time) is worth to you.” Well, 9x out of 10, their figure is always going to be lower than your true value. So, don’t waste your time, per se. Instead, set your fees. Let someone tell you what they think about your fees, AFTER you tell them, not before. That’s like giving someone the opportunity to price your house lower than its value. “What would you pay for a house like this?” 9x out of 10, they’d price it according to what they could AFFORD. NO HOUSE is sold based on what a customer can afford. It’s sold at fair market rates based on the value of the house itself. Otherwise, there would be a lot of poor people living in mansions by the beach. Uh, no. It’ll never happen. Price your fees, then let the market tell you afterward, they’re too high, or even too low, or just fine because no one says anything about it.
  • Coaching because they need the money. We all need money, that’s what jobs are for. Coaching is your passion, your life’s calling. You would do it for free, but you do have bills to pay. The point is, money isn’t the object here, helping others is. Priority #1: PEOPLE, and #2: MONEY. The money will always come. I have a saying, focus on helping others, and they’ll help you get what you want. Don’t even think about the money. Help as many people as you can, and you’ll make a lot of money. Charge, yes, but don’t think about it. People spend hours shopping, yet only minutes at the cash register. Think about that for a minute. That’s how long you should be focused on the money. Long enough to check the price tag, ring it up, swipe their card, and get them out of there. In the coaching world, that equates to talking all about them, all about how you can help them, what it would be like to coach with you, and asking for the sale, “So, do you think you could get where you want with my help? Then, what do you say we get this show on the road? What package would you like and how long would you like to work with me? I have discounts for multiple months if you purchase them in a block.”
  • Giving away too many discounts, or free sessions, and feeling bad about it later. Well, allow yourself to offer x-number of (free/low-fee) coaching sessions per YEAR. Once you run out, you can say to the next person, I’ve already used all the hours my business can afford to give away. Beyond that number, I start to go under, and I can’t pay my bills at that point. I don’t run a charity ring, and you don’t want training handouts.
  • Including other, outside services, bartering, trades, or investments in with your coaching fees isn’t always a good idea past a certain point. So, DON’T DO IT. DON’T DO IT. DON’T DO IT. Set your fees, create boundaries and borders for yourself and your client that neither of you will cross. Stay in your safe (earning) zone.
  • NOT generating enough leads per month. Trust me. There are hundreds of way to create leads and develop them into viable clients. This book will help you.
  • NOT writing a book. While your coaching business might not ever make you wealthy, authoring a book and turning your passion into teaching, training, workshops and seminars just might! The book is your outline, and gets you the exposure you need and your “foot in the door” with most companies and organizations.
  • Not bundling your products with others for more exposure and extra income. This is a given and a must-do. Reach out to others (who compliment what you coach on) for some product-bundling opportunities.
  • Not considering the fact that one day you could sell your coaching business for a profit and retire. This should motivate you to build a huge list of clients that have kept the testimonials flowing and validated your success. At a 10-year juncture (for example) and you are well-established, you might start taking the steps to sell your business. (You can still do part-time coaching.) Make yourself available to coach other coaches who could benefit from your expertise.
  • Not creating product. YOU CAN’T COACH ALL THE TIME. You may want a break or experience a lull in clients. You might entertain more training or a need to repurpose your own life. Supplement your income with new products (book/video/seminar) or align yourself with vendors who can service your clients and then take a percentage. White label/private label systems and sell them to your clients for residual income.
  • Not learning the art of sales. While marketing is outbound effort, sales translates directly to income. If making sales is not your forte, take some classes, read sales books and fine tune your skills. You can always pay someone to sell for you if you’re time is restricted and then pay based on a percent of sales. Also, take advantage of affiliate marketing or referral marketing.
  • Not licensing (to other coaches) what works for you. Do you have forms, agreements, contracts, methodologies that work well for you? Trademark them and sell them for additional income.
  • Not making LIST-BUILDING your #1 priority. You should actively generate leads to grow your list of potential clientele every day. There are a myriad of ways to build lists and they are readily accessible via simple online search. The better your prospects fit your ideal profile, the easier it will be for you to market and sell to them.
  • Not providing follow-up audio downloads for an additional fee for making money and providing added client support.
  • Not recording their coaching calls or workshops for additional revenue.
  • Not learning how to create their own marketing and training materials, which include flyers, postcards, posters, PowerPoint slides for presentations, contracts, order forms, etc.
  • Not spending every day trying to come up with a million-dollar idea. Even if it sounds crazy, which those usually are the best ideas, it’ll be used to not only make you money, but get you out there and seen.
  • Not training other coaches in what you do, if you’re successful, creating chapters throughout the country to duplicate your success. You could charge for training, and make money there. You could be a central hub where all clients are sent and divvied out to your trained chapter members throughout the world, taking your cut of the action or fees.
  • Not turning objections into practice sessions for them to better sell their services to a prospective client, such as, “Why don’t you take your time to think about our initial call here today, and I’ll reach out to you, or you can reach out to me when you’re ready to take control over this (situation/problem) with my help. Sound good?” “If you did go forward with me today, how do you see yourself working with me?”
  • Not turning your content into different formats for consumption: audio, written, video, eBook, print, digital download, bundled product, workshop, class, seminar, keynote speech, breakout speech, multi-day seminar series, etc. What else can you think of?
  • Pricing products too high, whereas the lead is more valuable than the $2-20 profit you might make. Think “big picture” and the “bigger score” of a coaching client, than making a higher profit off a single product. PRICE PRODUCTS TO MOVE! Get them (the client) in the door, under your watch and sell them higher priced programs.
  • Too much learning, and not enough earning. Hey, continued education is a great thing, but like the individual who stays in college and never sets foot in the real world to make a buck, wonders why he/she has $250,000 in school loan debt and no job/income to pay off those debts. So, here’s the rule 80/20. Work/sell/serve 80% of the time, and educate yourself 20% of the time. Don’t worry, if you think that 20% is a low figure for learning. That’s equivalent to committing 56 business days out of the year to education and learning. Most certifications take place and finish in 2-3 days. You can read 10 eBooks in 7 days if you pushed yourself, or 30 in 21 days. You could watch 24 webinars (in 24 hours) and learn a ton. So, 80/20, okay?
  • Relying 100% on coaching to make your living. Go where the money is at different stages of your coaching career. If at first, it’s online sales of your training courses, do that first. Build up a reputation of happy members. Reach out to them one-by-one if they’d like one-on-one coaching. Write a book, record it, turn it into a membership site, and get interviewed. The book alone will get you the EXPOSURE you need to send people through your freebie/pre-qualifying/filtering system. When the attention dies down, write a second book, and a third, etc. They don’t have to be print books, they can be eBooks. Print is better, if you can publish that first. Hey, publish both (print and eBook) at the same time! Record it, and podcast about it.
  • Not turning your hourly coaching knowledge into a 4- to 5-digit earning workshop, course, or program.
  • They compete on price, and not on value or for the quality of coaching delivered. You see that a coach with similar services is charging $150/month for two sessions and you want to charge more (because you’re worth it). Maybe you‘re thinking that you’ll lose out to lower fees. Don’t worry! If you offer the greater value, your ideal client is standing right behind the one that is paying less for less!
  • Not thinking you can turn a free/$.99 paying customer into a $99/month or $999 annual customer. Believe in yourself and price your fees and packages based on your credentials, expertise and a proven track record of achieving results, quickly.
  • They don’t enjoy making money. Get over it. Look at making money as a by-product of your efforts and hard work, how you can make a difference in the lives of others, and how you can comfortably support yourself. Seriously, if you’re worried about making money, then it could be because your mind is on the money and not on serving. If you want to make a lot of money, help a lot of people FIRST. That should be one of your top priorities. The money will follow because you’re worth it.
  • Undervalues, undercharges and under collects the right amount of money to be successful. Here’s a tip. Decide what you think you are worth and then add $25-50 per hour more to it. Why? We have a tendency to underrate ourselves when it comes to charges for our services. Some coaching services are highly personal and high intensity and warrants a big fee. Know your business and know that low fees don’t work for most coaching clients.
  • They don’t turn clients into life-time customers. To turn clients into reliable revenue, focus on turning your clients into repeat customers who can potentially refer numerous clients to you over time. Referrals are the most effective tools coaches have for new business.
  • You think you can’t charge because you “care” about your clients. It’s noble to care about people and a coach should have some empathy for his/her clients issues and situations. BUT a coach should be in business to make money not unlike any other profession on the planet.

The ability to develop a treatment plan for the accomplishment of personal goals is the most important ingredient for success and people value what they pay for. It’s that simple. If you are meeting clients’ expectations and they’re enjoying the satisfaction of reaching achievable goals, then they believe their money well spent. Charging for your services is central to your self-confidence and believing that you are worth it.

About Bart Smith

Bart Smith is the author of several books, professional marketer and self-publishing consultant, a personal coach, and a dynamite, motivational speaker. A self-starting, life-affirming, renaissance man, Bart is an entrepreneur at heart, who also bakes the world's best chocolate chip cookies at BartsCookies.com. He shares his insights, skills, training and knowledge here, on his training website, MyTrainingCenter.com, and helps people make money online with his online marketing shopping cart software, MyMarketingCart.com.

View Articles & Book Excerpts

Check out some of Bart's books on business, motivation, networking, coaching, checklists, and personal development.

Books by Bart Smith, MTC Founder


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