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Role Reversal

What would you do if you were referred to one of the top companies in the world?

In my community of leaders who coach we have a Slack group with a thread called “Ask Rich Anything!” 

A member of this community, who is a speaker, as well as a coach, wrote to me:

Rich, my friend referred me to one of the world’s top 20 companies, to give a talk. They just reached out and are interested to hire me. And I’m freaking out as they’ve asked for more details, some testimonials and the methodology I use. 

How should I reply?

I responded:

This is called Role Reversal and you can nip it in the bud!

A possible talk at one of the top companies on the planet. That’s awesome. 

Now it’s time to use simple but powerful language to turn them from a buyer into a seller.

It’s time to stop them from auditioning you and for you to start auditioning them… 

Here’s what I might write:

Hi X,

Thanks for reaching out. I am thrilled that one of your team proposed me as a speaker because my work is almost exclusively by word of mouth. They are all the testimonials I have ever needed. 

With regard to my methodology, it’s highly personalized. I’d want to get on a call with you to find out what you need and what would make this an amazing session for your people. 

I am available to speak on ….

It worked! They immediately responded and scheduled a 30 minute call. 

The coach wrote to me and asked how I’d handle such a short meeting. Was it better to speak fast and tell them your process or to ask them detailed questions or a combination of the two?

Here’s how I said I’d probably approach that 30 minute conversation. I’d step into a leadership role:

“Hi there. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation. And we don’t have time to waste, so if it’s ok with you I’d like to dive in, as I have 5 specific questions for you…

Great. Here we go:

1. If you were to call me in 3 years – and you told me that they’ve been the best 3 years ever, for the company – what would you be saying?

2. What are the dangers that you face over the next 3 years?

3. What are the opportunities ahead of you, over the next 3 years?

4. What unique strengths do you have that will carry you through the next 3 years. 

5. This last question is a short one. And it refers back to your 3 year  vision. All those things you said you’d love to create over the next 3 years… What have you done about that, so far?”

Notice what I’m doing and especially what I’m not doing. 

I’m not proving myself…
I’m not talking about my credentials…
I’m not worried about what I haven’t done…

I’m focused on them

Question 1, literally has them create their future. The first 4 are based on Dan Sullivan’s enrollment questions. Question 5 is from Townsend Wardlaw, an expert on sales and a member of 4PC. 

If their answer to Question 5 is, “We’ve not done anything about this yet.” Then, it’s probably too early for a proposal. They’re not ready.

If, instead, they tell you all the ways they’ve been thinking about the problem and all the ways they have attempted to handle it, then you know that they are ready for the next step. And it can be time to give them a full experience of what you do.

Can you help us?

It’s wonderful if they say, “What can you do for us?” Or, “Can you help us?” The thing is – you don’t have to answer them in that moment…  

Imagine saying this to them:

Before I ever work with an organization, I always schedule an “Executive Preview”.

That’s me and you, spending 3 hours together, getting really clear on your vision, the strategy you’ll need to implement it and the skills you’ll need to build in your team. 

You can fly me to meet you at your office and we’ll do this in person. It’s the most powerful way to do it. Or we can do it over two 90 minute Zoom calls. 

There’s no charge for the Executive Preview. You just cover my travel and accommodation, if I come to you.

The session can be a stand alone, that will set you up for any future speaker you have. Or it can inform the start of our work together.

The coach wrote to me:

I love the fearlessness in this Rich! But they invited me to be a speaker… Do you mean I’m almost coaching them on how to get their future speakers aligned with their 3 year vision during the Executive Preview?

I replied: 

You’re a coach, right? Do you want a one-off speaking gig, or the possibility of creating long-term work supporting one of the most successful companies on the planet? It’s time to demonstrate your power.

Here’s the reply I received: 

I am a coach. It’s time to start showing up as one! Thank you, Rich.

Love. Rich


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