You’re selling the wrong way around…
Most coaches think about what they want to sell—a book, a program, coaching—and immediately start trying to sell it.
How much of this sounds familiar?
You spend a lot of time or money creating a fancy logo… You hire a branding expert… You pay for a beautiful website… You hire a content strategist… You pay for advertising—Facebook ads, pay-per-click… You create a free ebook to get people to sign up to your email list… You develop an email campaign to draw people into your complex marketing funnel…
A member of my community once spent many months and $40,000, hiring experts to help her do all of this.
She’d spent a small fortune. She was exhausted… And bored as hell… But she was finally ready…
Ebook—check. Website—check. Marketing strategy—check. Content strategy—check. Email campaign—check. Funnel—check.
Nada. Nothing. Not a single email. Not a single client.
Most coaches are selling the wrong way around.
They fall for the incessant ads in their social media feeds. After all, if enough people are promising to sell their “Proprietary System to Make 7 Figures in 7 Days,” surely some of them must be right?
Not if you want to build a boutique coaching practice with a handful of high-performing, high-fee clients.
“But Rich, you have a beautiful website and a logo and you send weekly emails and you’ve just launched a program, and I see your face on ads in my social media…”
That’s true but I only just created a beautiful website—fifteen years into my coaching career. And I’m only just launching my own program—fifteen years into my coaching career.
Most coaches start with a product and try to reverse engineer the system. They need to start with a system and end with a product. I call the system, The Arc of Fascination™. This is how great coaches sell.
The Arc of Fascination
You can build an entire coaching business using The Arc of Fascination. It’s the way great coaches work:
- Have something to say
- Share ideas
- Grow ideas
- Grow an audience
- Grow a community
- Have something to sell
1. Have something to say
What’s your purpose? Why are you a coach? What do you believe?
If you can’t answer these questions you’re not ready to sell. Anything.
As Simon Sinek once said,
“The goal is not to do business with everybody that needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
So spend time reflecting on what you believe.
(a) What are your counterintuitive truths? Write down 6 things that most coaches believe that you think are not true… Most coaches think _____. But the truth is _____. Most people think _____. But the truth is _____.
(b) What are the top 3 lessons you want your kids to learn from you?
(c) If you could write your number one belief on a billboard at the Superbowl, so millions of people could read it, what would it say?
These are the seeds of your beliefs.
You can build a business around your beliefs.
2. Share ideas
Don’t try to be perfect. Messy is sexy.
Stop comparing yourself with people who’ve been writing articles, or creating videos, for years. We all started at zero.
Once you are clear on some of the things you believe, start sharing them.
Start a weekly newsletter. Make it monthly if that feels overwhelming. That’s only 12 things to share, over the next year…
Or start a podcast. But don’t interview anyone! Coach people. And at the end of the coaching, ask them to share an insight. One a month. That’s 12 videos of you coaching by the end of this year. Twelve ways for people to experience your coaching before you try to sell your coaching.
As Colin Marshall says,
“If you spend your life avoiding vulnerability, you and your work will never truly connect with other people.”
3. Grow ideas
You have an amazing laboratory for growing your ideas. Your clients.
When you share your ideas with your best clients, you can see which ones grow and which ones go nowhere.
Keep sharing your ideas with your clients. Seek their feedback. Watch their reactions.
As Alain de Botton once wrote,
“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”
4. Grow an audience
I used to be a high school teacher and when I left that career to become a coach, I was done with teaching.
I hadn’t realized that I will always be an educator.
And if you want to grow an audience (and if you want to be a successful coach you must build an audience) you need to be an educator.
Notice I said be an educator. Not build an email list. I said be an educator. Not create content.
Yesterday, one of the faculty members of 4PC said to me, “Rich, I watch so many people trying to copy what you are doing now, instead of looking at the principles behind how you got there. They are trying to sell programs like you, without first building a community like you did…”
It was a great catch. And I’ve spent the past four hours writing this article to educate people on that very principle.
As Hugh MacLeod says,
“Educate and inform. Don’t interrupt and sell.”
5. Grow a community
Start small. Bring your top clients together. Create experiences.
I didn’t begin with a community.
But I did like to bring people together.
In 2009, I invited the members of my first ever Confident Woman’s Salon—six people—to meet me in New York. Only 5 of them could make it. Evelyne Brink was there. She later became a one-on-one client. She later became a member of 4PC. She later supported me to run Deep Dive experiences, around the world. Evelyne has been part of my community for over a decade.
In 2011, I ran my first ever Intensive with Steve Chandler. We each enrolled 15 people. That was it. My entire community at that point was 15 people. But that’s how community begins. Small.
Allison Crow called me for a chat, around 7 years ago. She told me how much she hated my Prosperous Coach approach! So, I offered to coach her. And I shared some ideas with her. I invited her to an Intensive. She came to one. And then another. And then another. She created incredible artwork to illustrate my ideas. She was the very first founding member of 4PC. And we are friends to this day.
Here’s one of my favorite ever pieces of Allison’s work. It beautifully illustrates the power of inspiring your clients to dream big:
I’ve been creating fascinating experiences for years. At a wolf sanctuary in California. At a horse ranch in New Mexico. In a 300 year old building in London. At hotels on the beach and in high-end spas in the desert.
I love to thrill and surprise people. That’s how you build community. Because people want to come back for more.
As Priya Parker wrote, in her book, The Art of Gathering,
“Gatherings that please everyone occur, but they rarely thrill. Gatherings that are willing to be alienating—which is different from being alienating—have a better chance to dazzle.”
6. Have something to sell
Sell your very best work.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe in perfection. When you’re 80% ready, it’s time to go.
But don’t sell too soon.
Sell the experience of your coaching before you try to sell your coaching.
And, if you want to sell a product, create something remarkable—in the literal sense of the word. Something people talk about. Something you have built in front of an audience. Something your dream clients love.
Where are you on the Arc of Fascination?
Where are you today? Where do you want to be in 3 years?
- I have something to say ____ / ____
- I share ideas ____ / ____
- I grow ideas ____ / ____
- I grow an audience ____ / ____
- I grow a community ____ / ____
- I have something to sell ____ / ____
PS. Dramatically increase your confidence as a coach by mastering enrolling clients. Drastically increase your ability to raise your fees and up-level your clients. And learn to have fun making money. Join me on The 90 Day Money Game. There’s still time to join us…
PLUS, whenever you’re ready – here are 4 more ways you can drastically increase your income and impact as a world-class coach:
- Assess your current coaching level and learn how to get to your next level. Read – or remind yourself of – The Litvin Levels, from The Prosperous Coach.
- Watch me coach some of the top coaches on the planet, in order to drastically uplevel your coaching skills. Join me on How To Coach A Superhero: The 4PC edition.
- Imagine joining a Deep Coaching experience alongside the members of 4PC, my community of high-level coaches… We only offer The 4PC Accelerator once a year and it always sells out in advance. Save $1,000 with early-bird pricing.
- Learn how to enroll and coach successful, talented and ambitious clients – with power and impact. Join my flagship program, Project Kairos – for 8 months of guidance, challenge and support to master creating clients.