Serve. Don’t Chase.
Chapter 6 of Make ‘Em Beg To Be Your Client!
“A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. You build something, make it available, and if you’ve made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised. Or they don’t, in which case the market must not exist. Actually, startups take off because the founders MAKE them take off… The most common unscalable thing founders have to do at the start is to recruit users manually. Nearly all startups have to. You can’t wait for users to come to you. You have to go out and get them.” – Paul Graham, Y Combinator
This book is all about writing a book that gets clients begging to work with you. But at the very beginning, how do you rectify that with the need to go out and manually recruit users before you have visibility or momentum? It can feel like a catch-22.
My client Margo came to me in a bit of a money crunch. She had already quit her full-time job in project management because it was “sucking her soul dry,” six months before she signed up to write a book with The Author Incubator. Her savings were dwindling, but she knew she needed to invest in herself to grow her business, so she took a line of credit and made a promise to her husband. “I’m going to do this,” she told him, “but I will have that credit line paid down in 90 days.”
One of the things I teach my authors is to start selling their services right away, if they aren’t already, so she knew she was going to have to put an offer out there soon, to get her investment back.
Margo was worried because she hadn’t had consulting clients before. She wanted to take her project management experience from the defense contractor she worked at and apply it to help local businesses in her area improve their productivity. The company she worked for was running on Six Sigma, and her new clients were running mostly on blood, sweat and tears. She knew there was an easier way, and she wanted to share it with them.
“Angela,” she said to me, “I just don’t get it. You say the prize never chases, but then you tell me to go knocking on the doors of local businesses in my town. That just feels really…. chasey!”
Margo was right. There is a natural dichotomy between the energy of hustling and the energy of laying back while you’ve primed your customers to beg you to work with them. But there doesn’t have to be, if you understand the process of searching for hand-raisers.
Most people go out looking for new business thinking thoughts like Margo had: “I promised my husband I’d get this debt paid down. I really hope this person decides to buy from me.” This is not an attractive energy, and it will not generally lead to clients. When it does lead to clients, it leads to non-ideal, challenging clients – ones who are seldom satisfied.
To find customers who are extremely likely to be satisfied, you have to get them to invite you to be their coach or consultant. Your job isn’t to convince them to buy anything from you. Your job is to help them get clarity on the gap between where they are now, and where they want to be. Then, if they see you as the person who can get them to where they want to be, they will, quite literally, beg you to accept them as a client. (By the way, whether you do accept them or not is really up to you. I accept fewer than 20% of people who ask to work with me, and I only accept the people I know will get amazing results.)
When you are giving away your book (as we reviewed in the last chapter), you are getting people to raise their hand to say, “Yes! I have the problem you wrote this book about. YES! I want to solve it.” Now we don’t know for sure if they actually do have that problem and we really don’t know if they want to solve it. That’s going to take more exploration together, but we have a breadcrumb that indicates they might.
The problem is, if someone buys your book, or gets it from a friend, you have no way of knowing how to reach them to explore those desires. In addition to having a book as a lead magnet, every author needs a secondary lead magnet. I call it a Reader Magnet. This is the lead magnet that only goes inside your book.
Good vs. Bad Lead Magnets
Great ideas for lead magnets have some things in common – essentially, they prepare a reader to buy from you.
A reader magnet can be repurposed even if people haven’t read the book, and they help the reader diagnose the actual problem they need to invest in fixing.
Terrible ideas also have some things in common: they make a reader feel like their problem is solved already when it’s not. They give the reader a false sense of resolution and comfort. They make it easier for the reader to procrastinate about doing the work, and really solving the problem.
Books, especially those written using the Difference ProcessTM that I outline in my first book, The Difference, are great lead magnets. But you can’t give your book away again in your book. With your reader magnet, you want to ask yourself these three questions to determine if your lead magnet is effective:
- Does it give a sense of instant completion rather than creating more work or put something on your to do list?
- Can you use it as a lead magnet independently of the book?
- Does it help the reader diagnose the problem they need to invest in fixing?
Your Book Needs a Companion Webinar
The most effective lead magnet, besides a book, is a webinar. The word webinar means lots of things to lots of people. I’m not even sure what it means. It could just be a large group phone call. It could include a slide presentation with a voice-over. It could be a video presentation that doesn’t have any slides or images. For purposes of this conversation, it actually doesn’t matter how you present the information – video, audio, slides, live or recorded – but it does matter how you structure the presentation and share it. And it doesn’t matter what you call it, either: a webinar, a presentation, a companion class… you choose what feels yummy and appealing to your ideal reader. For this book, I’m calling it a webinar.
In fact, at the beginning, I want you to do these in whatever way is easiest for you and which requires the least cost and time. I want to get you used to doing this in a small amount of time, even if you have nothing else going on. Let’s say you have no kids, you have no self-care needs, you have no sleep needs, you are happy to spend 100 hours this week on it, I still want you only spending four hours to get this tactic done, so you will learn what that pace feels like. Here’s the news flash: If you’ve got perfectionism issues, this is where you get to drop them all, because there’s no way to do this perfectly in four hours. In fact, if you spend 400 hours on it, there is also no way to do it perfectly. There’s a way to get it done and to get some data, but there’s not a way to do it perfectly, so we just got to give that idea right up. Perfection, I mean competence, can only come from doing it – and maybe even doing it badly a bunch of times. This is more of the good kind of failing I referenced earlier in the book.
When I started off, I did webinars weekly. There were no slides, no video, I just used a free conference call phone line! Most weeks, there were only a handful of people on the calls. Almost every week, one of those attendees would become a client.
Start with Your Numbers
Let’s start with your numbers. Your very first task to get clients begging to work with you is to know your numbers, why? Because you are the CEO, and as the CEO you are responsible for your business.
I can’t know them for you and I can’t give it to you. This seems like some extra thing, you might be thinking in your head right now, “I just want as many as I can get.” As many as I can get means zero. That does not work. You have probably tried that strategy. It’s ineffective. Let’s not do something we’ve already proven month after month does that not work. We want to have a specific number.
Your goal is to know what we need to do this week. I recommend that a full practice for a coaching business takes between one and five clients a week. You can easily have a 20-hour a week, $10K a month, six-figure business starting with one new client a week. If you want a $100K a month, seven-figure business, you will be looking at more like five new clients a week, and probably a few employees to help you out.
Think about how many clients do you really need to get each week. If you are, let’s say, trying to get two new clients a week, you will need to get about 20 people on the webinar to hit that goal but since it will be free, it’s likely less than 50% of people who register will actually attend. I usually see webinar attendance rates of 20% – 40%, so you will need something like 50 people to register for the webinar to get 20 people to show up, and two of them will go on to become clients.
Do THIS. Not THAT.
When starting out, what you likely want to start with, which by the way, we’ve already established doesn’t work, is what’s in the webinar or what is the title of the webinar.
Wrong place to start.
We know that doesn’t work. You’ve tried that. Let’s not go there again. The reason I don’t start with what the content is, and I start with what my numbers are instead, is because it’s not the tactics that determines success or failure, it’s really the ownership and the thinking.
My topic, my title, my content, all might change depending on my numbers. If I want to do something that I know I don’t have a list for, or my list isn’t interested in it, I’m going to have to have a different hook to get people in. The order that I’m teaching this in is very systemized. I want you to start with your numbers because that’s going to help you think about what you can create and what you can get people actually to raise their hand and say, “Yes, I have that problem.”
How Do I Get People To Come?
I recommend you regularly promote your free book and your free webinar. Don’t chase for sales. Instead, use these two free tools to serve deeply. This book is not a technical guide to setting up registration pages, so I’m going to assume you have some technology in place, web skills, or can get them on board. But here are a few tips that might help, so when you are sending people you meet in your awareness activities to sign up for your webinar, you have a place to send them.
Ways people can give you their contact information in exchange for a “ticket” to your webinar:
- Create a Facebook group or event for the webinar.
- Create a simple landing page with a tool like Square Space or Lead Pages.
- Use Eventbrite and make free tickets available.
- Upload your webinar into an automated webinar system like Stealth Seminars or Evergreen Business Systems and use their landing page tools.
- Put up a blog post and integrate the email collection form from your mail host on that page.
Remember, you have a goal for the number of registrants you need so make sure when you are doing awareness, you are sending people who hear about you to a registration page with great marketing content, so they still want to be part of what you are doing. Make sure the only way they can come to your webinar is if they “pay” with their email address.
Another great way to get people to sign up for your webinar is through friends and colleagues.
Two of my clients, Jeanne Andrus, the menopause guru, and Jill Angie, of Not Your Average Runner, make a great example of how to do this well. Jeanne believes that many of her menopause clients should run. Jill has many running clients who are going through menopause or pre- menopause. They are not competitive in their work, but at the same time, their work is very complementary. Who do you know well who has a business that yours may complement? Can you offer to do a webinar for people they invite?
What Do I Say?
Once all of that is done, then, and only then, can you ask yourself the question, “What the heck am I going to talk about in this thing?”
I like to think of your presentation in thirds. And remember the goal of the presentation is not to get them to buy anything – not at all. The goal is to get them to see the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Once that is determined, they will know if they want you to help them close that gap.
In the first third of your presentation, the goal is to make it abundantly clear to the viewer or listener that you deeply understand the problem they are facing and that you know the value in solving this problem. In this section, you will want to share case studies of how you came to solve this problem for yourself and for a couple of your clients. Most people start with their bio. This is a terrible way to start because nobody really cares about your bio. If they are giving you an hour of their time, it’s because they care about themselves, and are exploring whether or not they want to solve this problem.
You might be wondering, “Why will they listen to me if I don’t give them my bio?” Because they already raised their hand and said they want to hear. You can include your bio but include it at least 10 minutes in after you have made it very clear you deeply understand the pain associated with the problem you solve.
In the next third of your presentation, you want to give practical, tangible, concrete advice. Very often these are steps or tips. It could be three secrets that people need to know, or the three most common mistakes that people make. This is the meat of the presentation. This gives them a sense of whether you truly solve the problem and previews what it would be like to work with you.
The final third of your presentation is the close. Remember we aren’t closing them on the sale itself. we are closing them on clarity about whether or not they want to take the next step in closing the gap between where they are and where they want to be. Here is where you share the challenges to solving this on your own without help. No lying, nothing fancy, no neuro-linguistic programming. We’re not trying to trick anyone. You are an expert on this topic, so kindly share what happens when you try to close this gap on your own. This should be what you have already seen with your clients, or in your own life. This is another place to be heavily story-driven. And when you share stories, make sure you reference your clients, even without identifying information, so your reader knows they could hire you as well.
Finally, you’re going to have a call to action. The call to action for almost everyone is some version of, “Now that you know the problem, the dream come true, and the steps, do you want to do it on yourown–ordoyouwanttodoitwithme?Ifyouwanttodoitwithme,let’shoponacallandtalk about it.”
I don’t really recommend doing Q&A on the webinars. People will want it, and you will want to do it, but what I recommend is to skip it. It’s a disaster if you get somebody who goes off the rails. What I do, because this is actually true for me, is as part of my close, I say: “I know a bunch of you are going to have questions and I want to answer them, but I want to respect everyone’s time. I know a lot of your questions are going to be very personal, so what I’d love to do is just hop on the call with you, a private call with you, hear what’s going on, and see if I can help.”
It Works if You Work It
Work your awareness to get webinar registrations and don’t stop until you get the number of people registered that is the goal for this week. Massive action is the key to success.
My last note for this step is that I want you to go into this first week with my definition of success or failure. Your definition of success or failure is probably, “Do I get lots of people to sign up and say I’m awesome?”
My definition of success or failure, which you should borrow this for this week is, just doing it. That’s it. Right now, someone you could help is suffering. Sitting on your couch trying to figure it out will not help this person.
One of my first webinars, my Free Conference Call was a disaster. Why? I don’t know, it broke, went down, like 15 minutes through the call, hung up. I lost everyone. You know what I did? I sent out an apology email and I re-did it the next day. No children were harmed. It was fine.
Is shit going to go wrong? For sure. Decide that in advance. Lots of shit is going to go wrong, you’re going to screw it up, and you’re going to do it anyway. By the way, if you do a ton of planning, you know what happens? Even more shit goes wrong, and it’s more expensive. You cannot stop life from happening. You have to be the person who does it anyway.
Failing is having the technology crash.
Not failing is thinking about it and trying to solve the variables so you don’t have that problem. That doesn’t count.
When people say, fail fast, they mean go do something and have it actually break. They don’t mean fail by sitting on your couch thinking about it.
Massive action is being 100% committed to having 20 people on your webinar this week.
Passive action is reading this chapter and thinking about it, preparing and never actually doing shit.
With passive action, you can never actually fail that, and that’s why people choose it. The work is always “in progress,” but it never gets to helping anyone.
When you keep consuming content, you keep growing. Go for it. It’s super safe and cozy, but it isn’t helping you help anyone.
You got to put shit out there and fail by doing a webinar that nobody comes to, in order that you can learn to do webinars that people do come to. It’s fine. Your stuff doesn’t have to be beautiful to help people.
You have a servant’s heart, and an awareness that when we do new things, we are going to suck at them. Your clients are going to suck at the new things they try, at first. You need to model this ability to change and do imperfect, amateur things at the outset in order that you can grow, get
better, and become the person who has the success. Who gets the results and gets out of her own way to get them. This is what your clients need from you. Not just what is in your head, but what is in your action.
Get the rest of the chapters of Make ‘Em Beg To Be Your Client! here.