Coaches constantly ask me, “How do I increase my fees?”
My answer: Create more value for your clients.
How do you do that?
Here are 42 different ways you can create more value for your clients and a story of how I astonished my wife on our anniversary.
- Awe your clients with the presence and attention you bring during their coaching. This is important and easy to overlook. Pay deep attention. Project your voice. Have them feel deeply heard.
- Look for the things that no one else can see and be bold enough to say what no one else would dare to say. Stretch your clients. Provoke their thinking. Call out their limiting beliefs. You should feel uncomfortable at least once a day, as you share a deep truth—or your spiky point of view—with your clients.
- Make surprise calls, or send text messages between sessions. Be specific. No generalities. Avoid, “I’m checking in. How are you doing?” Instead ask, “How did the conversation with your SVP go?” Or “What did your Board of Directors make of your proposal?”
- Send an article to a client. Make it specific to them. Highlight a passage that’s relevant to their situation. Don’t email it. Send it by snail mail with their name and address handwritten on the front. If you do this every month it will become an expectation. If you do it at random intervals it will be a delight.
- Shake up your coaching by meeting in person, instead of over Zoom. Invite your client to meet you in a restaurant, or a top hotel, or for a walk in nature. They live 6,000 miles from you? Invite them anyway. I just invited a client to meet me in Santa Monica. He immediately said he was in and booked return flights from Chicago.
- Meet in an unusual place for your next coaching session, e.g. a graveyard, the beach or a forest. You could meet in person—or even over the phone in separate graveyards!
- Run a double length session for your next coaching call. Go really deep.
- Write an article for one person. I’ve written this entire article for a new client—Paula Adler. We haven’t even had our first session yet.
- Send your client a book but highlight a single chapter for them to read, with a specific reason you think it would be valuable to them. Don’t send it by Amazon. It’s 2021, we get Amazon packages all the time. Wrap it and FedEx it, with a handwritten note. Yes it will take time. Yes it will cost a little more. That’s how you astonish clients—by going the extra mile. It shows that you care. And that is priceless.
- Create an in-depth, stand-alone session based on a single sentence. “Tell me your story…” Have your client take you back to when they were 6 years old. What did they love to do as a youngster? What did they study at university? What was their first job? Trace the golden threads of their life all the way until now, to draw out their Zone of Genius. I charge $9,000 for a 30 minute session like this but I do them for a client at no extra charge.
- Create a podcast where you coach people who are the caliber of your dream clients. Share relevant episodes with your clients. Invite clients to be your guest to be coached on the podcast.
- Write about the challenges faced by your dream clients. I wrote this entire article based on a single comment from someone in my Facebook group, Serve Lead Serve.
- Serve two layers deep… This is one of my favorites. Ask a client to tell you the biggest challenge facing their customers, clients, direct reports, or board of directors. Run a special session for them where you help solve problems two layers deep. Remember, you turn your client into a superhero if they can walk into the office and solve problems for the people around them.
- Really serve two layers deep… Have your client invite a customer, a client, or a direct report to a special session with you and them. Or propose attending the next meeting with their board of directors (clarify in advance if they want you there as a participant or an observer. And clarify whether they want you to participate as a consultant or a coach—those are different mindsets). Solve problems two layers deep—either in the room, or in conversation with your client, after the meeting.
- Create gift tickets for your high-level clients to attend your other programs. But never give “free stuff” to a client. Tell them, “I have a program I created. People pay $1,500 to attend. If my business paid for your ticket, as a gift from me to you, would you be interested to come?” If they are a yes, slow them down, “Hold on. I have two things I require of you… First, that you keep this confidential. And second, that you show up and play full out as if you had invested the full $1,500. If you are a YES to both of these, I will arrange your ticket.” If they are in, make sure that you send them an invoice for the full cost of the program, with these words at the top: PAID by [Insert your company name].
- Create scholarships for people you admire (who are not yet clients) to join your programs. Call out their full participation and invoice them for the full amount. See #15 above. Bringing high caliber people into your world creates huge value for the other members of your community. And it’s a wonderful way to create value for people who may never have the financial resources to work with you. Always keep scholarships confidential.
- Surround yourself with extraordinary people. Share your insights with your community.
- Walk your talk by hiring the very best coaches you can afford. Share your learnings and insights with your own clients.
- Read, learn, train. Teach your insights before you are ready.
- Be provocative. Be confident. Take risks. You don’t need more friends. Nor do your clients. Speak difficult truths. That’s priceless.
- Write. Constantly. Create intellectual capital and then turn it into intellectual property. Books, tools, videos, programs.
- Share your thoughts and insights in many channels—YouTube, a newsletter, a blog, a podcast, even social media. But don’t play the game of collecting “likes.” Your job isn’t to be liked, it’s to provoke people’s thinking.
- Put your current clients and potential clients in a room together. Advocate marketing is when your clients speak spontaneously about the impact of your work.
- Create new programs, products and IP. If you aren’t regularly hearing “Hell No!” or “I disagree…” you are not being creative enough.
- Share unique, memorable, provocative and unorthodox ideas. Avoid generalities. Avoid repeating ideas from well-known thought leaders. That makes you look derivative. On a regular basis I see coaches whose website duplicates my language—word for word. That might sound interesting but they will never be a thought leader.
- Test your newest ideas with your highest-paying clients and in your top community. People love to be let in on your process. They are your personal laboratory for creation. Don’t wait for perfection. You’ll be surprised at how much your top clients appreciate your unfinished, messy, new ideas. Test them and hone them in real time. They don’t need to be perfect. You create value in the messiness.
- You don’t need to build an audience to be a thought leader. You need one person who listens to you. Stop waiting until you’re well known. Share your ideas now. That’s how you become well-known. One person at a time.
- Provoke your clients’ thinking. They don’t need to say, “Wow!” They do need to say, “Hmmmm…” It’s a sign that you’ve opened a tiny crack in the clarity of their world. What looked possible now becomes probable. What looked impossible now becomes possible.
- Create IP by mining your past struggles, successes and insights.
- Mine your clients’ past struggles, successes and insights to draw out their golden threads. Help them create their own IP. This is incredibly valuable.
- Create a community of people more fascinating than you. Learn from them. Invite extraordinary people to speak to them, as your guests.
- High-performers often show up more and take more risks, the higher the fee. For some individuals you create more value, the more that you charge. The higher the fee, your clients will know who will not be in your room.
- Simplify. Take complex ideas and simplify them for your clients.
- Become prolific. Create weekly videos, podcasts and articles.
- Don’t be the best. Be the only. Go weird, not wide. Get more and more unique and idiosyncratic in what you study and teach.
- Write articles, videos and even a book focused on the clients you want a year from now.
- Make everything on your site high quality. Make your clients proud of telling people about their coach.
- At least once a quarter ask your clients to reflect on their accomplishments. It’s your responsibility to remind them of the power and impact of coaching. They’ll feel proud of what they’ve done.
- Gifts in service of transformation. I hired a cartoonist to create caricatures of each of the members of 4PC. I had each one of them drawn as a superhero. But this wasn’t to make them feel good, or to impress their kids. It was a gift in service of transformation… On the back of each superhero was an explanation of their superpowers—and also their dark side. We used this as a tool to discover what parts of themselves they are proud of and see as superpowers. And what parts of themselves are they ashamed of—their dark side.
- Gifts two layers deep… I designed and ordered metal business cards made for all the members of 4PC. But they didn’t have my name on. And they didn’t have my logo. On the front, they read, “You are more powerful than you know.” On the back, “I believe in you.” I sent each client ten of these business cards, so they can give them as gifts to their clients. And no one will even know they came from me. Several of them told me later that they gave them to each of their children and had a very moving experience doing so. I was really touched to hear that.
- Be unexpected. One of my coaches, Steve Hardison, is such a lovely man that he flies a flag outside his home every time you come to visit. Each flag is personal to each client. He always flies a Union Jack when I visit. Steve only coaches from his home office, never over the phone, and I once spent a year of my life flying from California to Arizona, once a week, for 2 hour coaching sessions. When I found out that Steve was going to be in LA, I invited him to dinner. With 4 days notice that he was coming, I hired a company to design and make a flag with Steve’s logo. It was flying outside my home as he arrived. He was deeply moved. It had never dawned on me that in 30 years of flying flags for his clients, no one had ever thought to do the same for him.
- Create memorable experiences. It’s our 14th wedding anniversary this year. So, I booked tickets to take Monique to see one of her favorite singers, Erykah Badu, at the Hollywood Bowl. I got us a box and I ordered a 3-course meal to be delivered to our seats before the concert. Now that’s all nice but anyone can do that. The morning of the concert, I awoke early and got a taxi across town to meet a stranger… You see, I know that my wife’s favorite movie on the planet is Back To The Future. And this man owns a DeLorean that I had rented for the day. As I arrived back at my house, I phoned Monique and asked her to come outside. As she stepped onto the street, I opened the gull-wing doors to the DeLorean. Her mouth hit the floor. She was absolutely stunned! As we drove to the Hollywood Bowl, people smiled, cheered and took photos. We were like celebrities. It was a memory never to be forgotten.
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