Sometimes I can be so naive, I really can, and last weekend was no exception.
I had been told about a free webinar being put on by self-professed ‘leading expert on women entrepreneurs and money’, Kendall SummerHawk.
In the webinar, she was going to explain how to implement VIP days which have become increasingly popular with many Life Coaches, or more especially, financial or wealth coaches.
Very briefly, a VIP day is a few hours (usually 5 or 6) spent with one (or I guess even 3 or 4 if you want) clients paying you higher than normal fees for intensive coaching and rapid help.
People Want Results And They Want Them Now
The theory seems reasonable.
After all, we live in an age where people are looking for fast results and are very often prepared to pay a premium to achieve those.
I have done such things a handful of times in the past, usually with clients who want face-to-face coaching and don’t live close by.
I have had clients drive up from Miami and down from Jacksonville and even a couple who have flown in and dropped their family at Disney as we have spent a day or two working.
They can be fun and rewarding, and even though I personally don’t put my rates up, I don’t necessarily think it’s unreasonable to do so as there is usually more prep work to do.
Especially if you’re doing them in person rather than via Skype or the phone and you have to deal with 3 very curious Dobermans.
Unless that is you adopt Kendall’s approach to coaching because she suggests once you have built your cookie-cutter, er, I mean template there’s no need to do any more of that work stuff.
With this method, you just deliver the same information again and again and you have yourself your very own cash cow with a golden goose sat on her back for good measure. Result!
After all, as a coach I’m sure you know that every client is the same, all people react in a similar manner to different techniques and processes and coaching isn’t at all reactive.
I could make this entire post about stuff like that and the methods she utilized to get people on the webinar to sign up for her real offering costing several hundred dollars that came straight out of, “Marketing 101 for the integrity challenged’, but I’m not going to.
Instead, I’m going to share with you the secret that the post title alludes to and one that Kendall so generously shared with her listeners.
The Biggest Mistake Life Coaches Make
When she first announced she was going to share this secret my mind started racing and wondering what it could be. For the first time on the call, my interest perked up.
Now for honesty’s sake let me say this.
She shared a couple of mistakes coaches make and whereas I *think* she claimed this was the biggest, she may have just said it was a very big mistake, so apologies for my misleading and no doubt scurrilous headline if the latter was the case.
I started thinking of things in my mind that could trip Life Coaches up and which was potentially the biggest
- Not understanding marketing?
- Failure to use social media properly?
- Pitching rates too low?
- Having an awful website that makes small children run away in fear?
- An inability to attract clients?
All of those are big and all can negatively impact any Life Coaching practice, but it wasn’t any of them.
Nope, according to Kendall, the big problem was over-delivering.
Too many coaches over-deliver and as such cannot then up-sell to their clients.
Here we are at the crux.
On a couple of occasions, Kendall mentioned how she loved to help people and I think that’s probably true.
But I’m fairly confident she doesn’t love helping people as much as she loves to make money and tell other people how much money she makes.
Well, not if the ratio of ‘helping others’ comments to ‘I made x number of dollars’ statements was anything to go by.
I was half expecting a slide of her bathing in asses milk in her gold plated bath whilst sipping on a chilled glass of Dom Perignon just in case anybody missed the message that she earns loads of money.
Over-Delivering Is Not A Problem
My guess is you are a Life Coach because you want to help people. You definitely want to get paid for your skills otherwise unless you are financially independent then it becomes an unsustainable business model.
Over-delivering may indeed mean you get a few less dollars from a particular client, but it also means you generate rabidly loyal clients who want to tell others about your services.
With my newsletter I over-deliver. There really is no need to give 4 full-length ebooks away to get people to subscribe, but I can so I do and as such, I have several thousand newsletter subscribers that hopefully know I’m trying to add value.
- Zappos over-deliver
- Nordstrom over deliver
- The Ritz-Carlton over deliver
- The Cheesecake Factory over delivers
- The guy who cuts my grass and will do random weeding and tidying but never charges me, over delivers
And do you think Morton’s Steakhouse was over delivering with this customer (courtesy of Mental Floss).
In August, author and business consultant Peter Shankman was getting ready to board a flight that was the last leg of a long day of traveling. It just happened to occur over dinnertime, and he knew he would be starving when he deplaned and headed home. “Hey, @Mortons – can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)” Imagine his surprise when he got off the plane to find a tuxedoed gentleman holding a bag that contained a 24 oz. Morton’s porterhouse, shrimp, potatoes, bread, napkins and silverware.
You should over-deliver!
Over delivery get’s you noticed. It makes people like, trust and respect you. It also breeds loyalty. I have no idea if I could get my grass cut cheaper, but I don’t even care, because I LOVE my guy, he’s made me a rabid fan.
Over-delivery also shows you don’t have a greedy and/or scarcity mindset and that you put your client first and foremost.
Over-delivery isn’t coaching for free (unless you want to), it’s not letting an hours session turn into 3 hours or giving away all your intellectual property rights because you’re afraid to say ‘no’.
- It’s maybe ordering a book for a client off Amazon that you know will help her and sending it as a gift
- It’s allowing a session to run over the hour because you are halfway through a process and don’t want to kill momentum
- It’s agreeing to see a client on a Sunday when you really fancied lying in bed
- It’s not getting all precious about your time when a client is having Internet problems and the call keeps crashing
- It’s occasionally sending a premium priced product to somebody who you know couldn’t normally afford it
- It’s agreeing to chat with a newbie Life Coach and replying to e-mails asking for free help
- It’s giving masses of free and useful information to your readers without the need to see an immediate financial return
- It’s adding a free 2-hour module to a Life Coach training course because you underestimated how much information you had to share.
And of course I could go and as I’m sure you have realized they are all things I have done, some many times.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear, tactics like those adopted by Kendall do work.
If that is by work, you mean generate cash. Pop up ads and spam works too because they work on the same ‘numbers game’ principal.
However, you have to decide whether they fit in with your personal values, or whether you feel the need to justify them.
If you ever need to self justify your marketing tactics based on something like, “Well everybody else does this or that” then you’re out of alignment with your values and your chasing money not looking to add value.
Image: ‘Zappos Tour’ Courtesy of Robert Scoble