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How to get dream clients in 20 minutes…

I met a woman executive, who wants to become a professional coach. She had invested $40,000 to hire a marketing ‘expert’. She’d spent months crafting a “drip email funnel”, a “lead magnet”, “social media campaign” and a “value-packed weekly newsletter” for her “targeted niche”.

It had drained every ounce of life out of her. She hated what she was doing. 

She hadn’t enrolled a single client as a result…  

Forty thousand dollars. Zero clients. That’s shocking. And sadly she’s not alone.

So, I coached her. 

I listened to what she really wants. 

And I advised her on her next steps. 

As a result, she enrolled her boss in supporting her to become the coach to high level executives, in her organization.

With one conversation, she went from a needy coach to a leadership coach in the corporate world.

Becoming a successful coach is confusing

The “easy” path appears to be spending money, time and energy on internet marketing courses, learning SEO, and designing beautiful websites and business cards.

The “hard” path is having conversations with fascinating people and serving them powerfully. The only hard part is usually your thinking… Where would I meet them? How would I coach them? How much should I charge? How do I raise my prices? Why would they hire me?

I wrote The Prosperous Coach to teach coaches how to build a successful business – with no internet marketing – one conversation at a time.

But today, I want to share with you 3 specific ways I’d update that book to create Prosperous Coach 2.0… 

  1. The Power of a 20 Minute Chat 
  2. How You ‘Do’ a 20 Minute Chat
  3. The Importance of an Audition

1. The Power of a 20 minute Chat

The game changer in The Prosperous Coach is the power of a two hour conversation. It’s about putting serving ahead of selling. “Serve someone so powerfully they never forget your conversation for the rest of their life…”

At the start of your coaching career, your mission should be to fill your calendar with coaching conversations. Serve people with no attachment to them becoming clients. Coach them. One to two hours of pure service. You will build your confidence. You will build your coaching competence. And some of them will eventually become clients.

Once you’ve had your first 20 or more paying clients, the game begins to change. When you have a full client load, it becomes harder to offer a two hour coaching conversations to everyone you meet. Plus, not everyone is ready for a two hour conversation. It can actually feel a bit intimidating to spend two hours with someone you barely know.

One of the members of 4PC is Townsend Wardlaw. He’s an expert in high level complex sales and he gave me a tip this year that changed my world:

Don’t offer everyone who shows up two hours of your time. 

Schedule a 20 minute call for your FIRST conversation… 

A 20 minute chat is a way for you to filter for the right kind of client to spend two hours of your time with. It also gives people an easy way to say yes to your invitation. 

2. How you ‘do’ a 20 minute chat

When someone gets on a call, I say “Hi!”. I get curious about them for a couple of minutes. How are you? Where are you? How do you know about me? 

And then I’ll say something like this.

“We only have a few minutes, so I’d like to get to know you a little. I’ve got 6 short questions that will help me to know you and help you to craft out a vision for what’s next in your life or business. After that, you can ask me any questions because we’ll both know what you want to create. How does that sound?”

Then, I ask them these questions, one at a time:

  1. If you called me in 3 years and told me that they’d been the best 3 years of your life – professionally and personally – what would you tell me?
  2. What are the dangers ahead of you? (The internal dangers such as how you get in your own way. And the external dangers such as the economy or your competitors). 
  3. What opportunities are ahead of you?
  4. What are your top 2-3 unique strengths?
  5. What are the dark sides of these strengths?
  6. What have you done about this, so far?

Question 1: is your filter for “Do they have a dream that excites you enough to want to work with them?” It’s called future pacing.

Questions 2-4: are your filters for “Are they self-reflective enough for you to want to work with them?” These questions are originally from Dan Sullivan.

Question 5: this is my question to draw out an aspect of the client that they rarely see on their own.

Question 6: is your filter for “Are they ready for coaching?” This is Townsend’s genius question. And you should never offer someone a deeper 1-2 hour coaching experience unless you can see that they have already been working on things in some way. If this is the first time they’ve ever spoken about the challenge they are facing – or if this is the first time they have ever shared their big mission, they are probably not yet ready to invest in coaching…

3. The Importance of an Audition

I’ve turned away 4 people who applied to join 4PC in the past couple of months. At $25K a year and with most members staying for a minimum of 3 years, that’s well over a quarter of a million dollars of income that I have walked away from. 

But 4PC isn’t for everyone. There are no more than 30 spots available each year. So I have no option but to set – and hold – a really high bar on who I can say yes to.

(I actually have a secret plan to raise the bar so high in 4PC that if I couldn’t get in myself, was it not for the fact that I was already in!!)

Clients think they are showing up to their first conversation, to audition you. Your mission is actually to audition them.

Don’t accept everyone as a client.

Turn away everyone who is a 7 or less out of 10.

Call out of your clients something that has them either step up. Or walk away.

Stop looking for clients who you can inspire and look for clients who inspire you. 

You’ll be surprised at how quickly this increases the caliber of the clients you work with and uplevels the community you are building.

Love. Rich


PS. Do you want to coach high-performing, high fee clients?



PLUS… Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways we can help you increase your income and your impact:

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