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How to make a powerful proposal

The #1 question I’m asked by coaches who want to enroll high-performing, high-fee clients is: How do you make a great proposal?

The #1 mistake most coaches make is: A proposal is an end point, not a start point…

A powerful proposal is a summary of a powerful conversation. It’s not a way to avoid a powerful conversation. 

Want to create written proposals that have clients say, “Hell Yes”?

It’s easier than you think – if you’re a good coach – because it requires you to have a deep coaching conversation.

Step 1: Coach your client powerfully. Give them a full experience of your coaching. Hold nothing back.

Draw out their secret dreams and their hidden desires. Discover their doubts. Uncover their fears. Find the dark side of their gifts. And when you think you’re there … go deeper.

Step 2: If you’re bold, go quiet. Say nothing. Wait for them to ask what it looks like to work with you.

If you’d really love to work with them, you can also look them in the eyes and say, “Would you like to hear a little bit about how to turn those dreams into reality?”

If they say, “Can you send me a written proposal?” that’s often code for, “You didn’t serve me powerfully enough. I don’t want to work with you. But I’d rather not say that to your face…” 

In those moments, I either find a way to serve them deeper, or I know that they’re a No For Now.

Say, “I only send a written proposal as a summary of a discussion of your goals and what’s holding you back. We’d need a follow up conversation for me to capture that. If you’re not interested in coaching, for now, we don’t need to do that…” [Pause. Say nothing. Wait for their response. If they’re complete they’ll tell you. If they’re still interested, they’ll tell you.]

Step 3: If they want to know more about coaching with you, you’ll need to talk about a coaching agreement, without talking about ‘coaching.’

It sounds like a paradox, I know! But if you’re talking about coaching, then you’re “selling” and by now, the selling is over… 

Instead, talk about their dreams. And talk about their fears. Let them know you get them. And let them know you can help them.

If – and only if – they tell you that they feel understood and they want support, it’s time to talk logistics.

You can look them in the eyes and say, “To work together will take X months and cost $Y,000.”

Most coaches are scared of making a proposal

If a potential client says, “Can you send me a written proposal?” – most coaches are secretly relieved.

They head off to spend hours putting something complex in writing.


But remember: A powerful proposal is a summary of a powerful conversation. It’s not a way to avoid a powerful conversation. 

By all means, send them something in writing. But not to “sell” your coaching. The time for that was when you were giving them an experience of your coaching…

Love. Rich


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