Trial lawyers have an old saying: “Never ask a question to which you do not know the answer.”
The same goes for making a marriage proposal.
This photo is a still from a video online. The young man says to the crowd, “Hi guys! She’s gonna be here any minute now. I’m gonna propose to my girlfriend!”
She arrives, and he launches into an emotional speech dedicated to his girlfriend of four years. Then, he gets down on one knee, and says, “Will you marry me?”
He waits … and waits … and waits. An agonizing 15 seconds go by. The crowd, restless, starts to chant, “Come on now!” But she can’t do it. She finally says, “I’m sorry … I can’t.” And she walks away, leaving him distraught.
The purpose of a proposal
A proposal is never a guarantee that a potential spouse—or client—will say yes. Of course, without a proposal it’s a guarantee they won’t say yes. However, you really shouldn’t propose (marriage or a $20K coaching contract) unless you’re pretty certain what’s coming next…
That’s a lot easier in coaching once you understand the true purpose of a proposal.
A coaching proposal should be a statement of agreed goals and objectives.
Nothing in a proposal should be a surprise.
When a client asks for a written proposal, you shouldn’t sigh with relief at the thought that you won’t have to say a number out loud.
- Learn to love saying your numbers out loud… If you’re afraid of saying your fees you probably should let go of the thought of being a high-fee professional coach.
- It’s easier to ask for a proposal by email than to say, I didn’t like your coaching… When a potential client asks for your fees in writing, it’s often not because they can’t wait to start working with you, it’s that you didn’t serve them powerfully enough.
A coach recently told me that at the end of an exploratory coaching session, a potential client asked them to send an email with their packages and prices.
The coach thought that was fine. (It wasn’t). She sent the potential client an email a day or two later, outlining the pricing, the logistics and the support available.
She also wrote: “One of our objectives will be the creation of clear objectives for the engagement and desired outcomes.”
Never do this.
Never tell a potential client that one of the first things you’ll do, when you start coaching is to set clear objectives for the coaching.
Your job is to set clear objectives and outcomes during your conversation and before your proposal.
There’s a reason my video, The Art of The Proposal, has been watched 34,000 times. Coaches need to learn to love making powerful proposals. Watch it. Several times. Rehearse it. Get it in your bones.
Powerful language creates powerful clients
My wife called a plumber the other day. When she hesitated at the price he quoted to fix a leak, he immediately offered “a special deal” where he would drop the price by 50%.
We didn’t hire him because it felt like he’d been trying to take advantage of us.
You need to model the opposite of this.
When it comes to high-level coaching, never say to a client, “I have a special deal for you…”
Coaches often tell potential clients things like:
- I’ll add ______ to make it sweeter for you…
- You can break the payment up into two instalments without the 10% payment plan surcharge…
- You were referred by a mutual friend, so you can have the mates rates…
- Let’s get started immediately…
Don’t offer deal sweeteners. That’s what a car salesperson does. People feel this stuff and it’s a turn off.
What if they don’t immediately say yes?
Here is some powerful language for you to use:
- If this doesn’t feel like a fit, let’s call it a no for now. And that’s perfect, too.
- If this is anything less than a Hell Yes, for either of us, let’s call it a clear no, for now.
- Not everyone is ready to work with me, the first time we speak.
- Let’s take this coaching program off the table for now. You see, I don’t want you to feel even the slightest doubt that you’re making the right decision. Take all the time you need. And if it’s still of interest in a week or so, come back to me. And if not, that’s perfect, too. You may not need coaching at this time.
What if they do immediately say yes?
When you hear, “I’m in!” Never get excited and say, “Great! What’s your credit card number?” You’re not selling a cruise. Instead, Test the Yes.
Testing the Yes takes courage and practice but it will pay off in the long run:
- Are you sure we’re not moving too fast? Are you certain this is right for you? Is there someone important in your life, who you need to check in with first? Maybe a business partner, a partner, your husband or wife, etc.?
- Go silent. Create space for them to think or speak.
- If you still get a clear yes, practice saying this: “When I meet someone who is a Hell Yes for coaching, I never let them sign up immediately. Instead, let’s sleep on it. If tomorrow, we wake up and we are both a clear yes, we’re in. But anything less than a Hell Yes, for either of us, and we’ll call it a clear no. That way you’ll never feel a sense of obligation. When you’re ready for coaching with me, you’ll know it deep in your bones.”
“I couldn’t accept free coaching…”
The Prosperous Coach Approach is built upon the concept of giving people a powerful experience of your coaching—at no charge. So, what do you do if you offer a coaching experience to a potential client and they are hesitant to accept unpaid support?
It might sound crazy that someone would turn away coaching for no fee. But people don’t want to feel obligated. And they are aware that sometimes free coaching will precede a proposal for working together.
Let me offer some language for a future occasion when someone responds this way….
“I totally understand why you might say no to unpaid support, right now.
I block out 2 hours a month to serve founders and CEOs, at no charge. It’s my way of making a difference. And it’s how I build a business by invitation and referral only.
It’s totally fine if this is not what you want at this time. And if you change your mind, I’m usually booked up 2-4 weeks ahead but email me and we’ll find a way to get you on my schedule.”
2020 has been an intense year. I wish you a glorious 2021.
Stay safe. Have fun. And, when you’re ready, make a difference.
PS. If you are a leader with a track record of success behind you and you’d love to coach a handful of high-performing, high-fee clients, I designed Transition Excellence for you. If you’re a high-performer who wants to create clients by invitation and referral only—no internet marketing needed—download the Transition Excellence Prospectus. I wrote it for you…
PLUS… Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways we can help you build the confidence, skills and the powerful language you need to enroll high-performing, high-fee clients.
You have a few hours left… If you sign up for any of the programs below—before midnight on December 31, 2020—you can pick one of our 3 self-learning programs (valued from $695-$995) and we’ll include that for absolutely no cost.
- You’ve been preparing for uncertain times your entire life. And we’ve got your back:
- The Intensive – 9 days focused on one thing: creating your very next client. I will teach you the skills, the language and the mindsets you need to master – in order to enroll high performing, high fee clients. You will be surrounded by our community of extraordinary coaches. This is the only Intensive I am running in 2021.
- The Intensive Leadership Team – For years people have asked us, “How do you create such amazing Intensives?” The answer is simple but it’s not easy. We train people to be leaders—from the inside out. If you want to master leading and delivering extraordinary transformational experiences—for 5, 10 or 250 people, you can apply to join our team. If accepted, you’ll come behind the scenes to witness how we build a high-level team, plus you’ll experience small group coaching from me and my Faculty. (Important: This opportunity is only available if you have attended an Intensive—at least once). Only 10 spots available.
- Project Kairos – This is my highest level Client Creation program. You’ll join a group of 30 top performers. You’ll have me as your coach from January to September 2021. You’ll have powerful Deep Coaching in a Group Setting, plus a private Slack group for Q&A with me, and for mutual support with the group. You’ll build the skills, the confidence and the powerful language you need to enroll high-performing, high-fee, elite clients. (Plus, you receive a complimentary ticket to the Intensive)
PPS. Don’t forget to choose your gift: