009: Take Risks to Acquire Clients Who Pay What You’re Worth
Many “gurus” are giving coaches and consultants some bad advice by discouraging them from actually coaching, according to my guest Marc Mawhinney. And Marc should know. He’s worked directly with hundreds of coaches since 2014 and has a popular Facebook group, The Coaching Jungle, with 16,000+ members. In this interview Marc explains why it’s important to first build up a base of client fans who get fabulous results from working with you before you attempt to create other revenue sources, such as online courses. Marc also shares many of the strategies he uses with his own coaching clients to help them achieve their goals.
- How to keep your business development simple with 3 pillars
- 5 criteria Mark has created for evaluating his ideal clients
- How to identify a niche to focus on
- Why your social media efforts may not be getting the results you hope for
- Why it’s okay to be controversial in the positions you take
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Hi and welcome to another episode of Strong for Performance. I’m your host, Meredith Bell, and I am delighted to have with me today, Marc Mawhinney. Hi, Marc.
Hi, Meredith. Thanks for having me.
Oh, it’s such a pleasure because it’s been a number of years now that we’ve been connected. I want to tell you a little bit about Marc. He is a lifelong entrepreneur. It goes way back. He works exclusively now with coaches. He has a breadth and depth of experience of working with hundreds of coaches, and actually, interacting with thousands of them. He has over 16,000 members of his Facebook group called The Coaching Jungle. He also has two very successful podcasts. The one specifically for coaches is called Natural Born Coaches. You have over 600 episodes for that one I believe now, Marc.
He has interacted with so many coaches over the years that he is going to provide a wealth of valuable information for us today. Marc, before we delve into the strategies and the content, would you just tell us a little bit more about your journey?
Yeah. Thanks again for having me. I’m not just saying this. I don’t say it to all the people I go on their shows, but you’re one of my favorite people in the coaching world, so.
I was glad that you invited me on. In a nutshell, I’ve been in the coaching world since 2014. Like you mentioned, my whole thing’s helping coaches get more clients without paid ads is my thing. Before that, I was in real estate for about a decade through my 20s. So pretty much right out of university, once I graduated I’ve never had a job. I’m unemployable with it, but I’m having a lot of fun. It’s a great business, coaching.
That’s great. One of the things I want to go into today, and this is kind of a broad question but I know there are multiple facets to it, is thinking about the coaches who come to you to work with you to get you to help them grow their businesses. I’d like to really go deep into what are some of the kinds of things they struggle with. I can imagine a number of them we could put under the broad category of mindset, because that’s one of the things that kind of holds many of us back from different things that we’re doing. Then also talk a little bit about strategies you provide to help them with those different struggles. What would you say is the number one issue that people struggle with when they come to you?
Well, you’re right. Mindset’s a big thing. A lot of coaches have imposter syndrome, just like anybody out in the world. Most humans can fall to that sometimes. You would think if anything, coaches would be more immune to that because coaches are the ones reading 100 books a year. They’re going to conferences. They’re watching personal development videos on YouTube. Everything’s personal development, but that’s human nature to have that imposter syndrome. But I would say the biggest issue that I see with people coming to me, the coaches, is overwhelmed and confusion, not knowing what to do exactly.
A lot of new coaches jump into the business. They think all that you have to do is slap up a website and, “Hey, I’m in business,” you’re going to get people rushing through the virtual doors. It doesn’t work like that. The interesting thing is a lot of new coaches, and I was the same way when I started, you think you’ll be coaching 80%, 90% of the time. Then the other 10 or 20% will be spent on a little bit of paperwork, a bit of marketing and tidying up stuff. But in reality it’s probably reversed, where you’re spending 80, 90% of your time finding the clients and then 10 or 20% working, actually doing coaching with them as well.
My thing is giving them that clarity and keeping it real simple. My coaching model and the coaches I’ve worked with, the goal of it is to be able to write your offers down on a little yellow sticky note. So even five years later, almost six years later, I could write my offers on this little yellow sticky. I don’t like making it too complicated.
So give us an example by sharing yours and maybe one or two of some of the coaches you’ve worked with.
The thing I’m seeing nowadays is a lot of the gurus out there, the experts, are discouraging coaches from actually coaching. Because they say you’re trading time for dollars. You don’t want to actually coach people. You have to have all digital, hands-off, recurring revenue and never actually have to talk to anyone. I think that that’s dangerous advice. The way that I did it with my business and the way I teach it with the coaches I’m helping is to start by filling up your coaching slots, your one-on-one coaching. Then you introduce a group program. That’s going to give you experience working with living, breathing clients, right? It’s going to make your future offerings better, your digital programs, any books that you write, any speaking, anything like that. But if you don’t have that experience of working with actual client then it’s going to hurt with the other stuff that you bring in.
I find a lot of new coaches are doing it backwards. They want to start with a hands-off product right away and never have to actually talk to anyone. The way that I did it, I started with one-on-one. Then I introduced a group program. Then I introduced digital programs, hands-off type things that people could do at their own pace. Then I introduced recurring revenue with my print newsletter Secret Coach Club. I didn’t have that all on day one. If I tried to do all of that right at the very beginning it would’ve been overwhelming. I added pieces as time went on. I’m still tweaking and improving on things here almost six years later.
When you’re coaching some of these folks initially and trying to help them simplify, I love what you just said because as I think about a new coach trying to write an online program with no stories and examples of successes of people they’ve worked with, it becomes very left-brain, factual, mechanical, and not enriched with real people whose lives have been improved or changed with the experience of having been coached by them.
They’re trying to guess what people want as well. A lot of my digital programs I created came from me working with people directly. Something would pop up where they’d say, “Gee, Marc, how do you monetize your Facebook group? I’d really love to know about that.” Bang, I create a program for Facebook groups. Same thing happened with daily emails and so on. I wouldn’t have the same programs or they wouldn’t be as good if I didn’t have the experience working with the actual clients.
How can you help these coaches? Because I’ve worked indirectly, or directly, with a lot coaches not coaching as a professional coach but helping them implement our programs. One of the things that I see, and I know you’ve seen, is this fear of rejection, of putting themselves out there and taking a risk of hearing a lot of nos. How do you help them move past that concern to actually start asking more?
Well, some people would probably disagree with this approach. I take the approach of shoving them into the deep end of the pool. Which some people say, “That’s mean. You don’t do that.” They would have them dip their toes in the water. You’re right, what you mentioned about the fear of rejection’s huge. That’s why a lot of coaches spend their days tinkering on their website or their banner, their logo, working on some sort of PDF or whatever. Because as long as they’re doing that, they’re keeping busy and they don’t have to risk rejection.
The issue I’m seeing with a lot of coaches is they’re not putting enough of their message out there. First of all, they’re not in front of the right people. They’re not clear on who they’re serving and how they’re serving them. But also, they’re just not consistent enough. They think, “Well, I’ll post once a day on whichever social media platform of my choice,” or whatever. I say, “No, you have to do a lot more than that.” Grant Cardone talks about it in The 10X Rule. He says that you take whatever amount of activity you think you’re going to have to do and you have to 10X it to cut through the noise. Because you know, Meredith, you’ve been in it a long time as well. You know that it’s a lot noisier now even than, say, five years ago.
It seemed noisy five years ago. Now it’s like crazy. It’s a Wild West out there. If you’re posting once a day on Facebook and you think that’s good enough, it’s not.
No. Well, most of these platforms that I’m thinking of, especially Facebook and LinkedIn where people’s clients most likely hang out, depending on what type of coach they are, those platforms aren’t even giving your posts very much visibility unless you get a lot of initial engagement with them. So it really is not a smart strategy to rely on that. I think too many times we can convince ourselves, “Oh, I’m doing this. I’m doing that.” But I think it comes down to doing the right actions. So from your perspective, what would be, say, the top two or three things that you’d recommend to a coach that, “You need to make these priorities every day or every week”?
Well, I have something I call pillars, for every coach that have I think three pillars. What I mean by that, that’s things that you’re doing to generate leads and generate business. My three pillars for example, and everyone else’s is probably different, but my three are podcasting. That’s on both sides of the mic. So it’s Natural Born Coaches but also going on shows like this one. So there’s podcasting. There’s Facebook, especially the Facebook group, The Coaching Jungle, as you mentioned. Then the third one’s email marketing with daily emails. I know if I’m doing podcasting, Facebook, daily emails, then I’m good.
Now if somebody hates writing, I don’t recommend doing daily emails. Or maybe you do them differently. You shoot a video and then your daily email’s directing people to the video. But the big key is to choose those pillars. There’s two main criteria for the pillars. First of all, it should be something that you enjoy doing, because if you don’t enjoy doing it you’re not going to be consistent with it. Then you’re not going to stick with it. Then the second criteria is it has to work.
So the example that I’ve used many times is my favorite thing in the world could be screaming out my upstairs window at passersby in my subdivision and saying, “Hire me. Hire me.” I love doing it. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I can’t wait to do it every day. That’s probably not going to do it. I might get the odd crazy person that hires me that way, who knows. But I’m being kind of silly there, but my point being that it has to be something that also works. So if you’re on a new social media platform that has 18 users in the world, you may love that platform, that’s not going to do it.
So if someone, let’s say, doesn’t want to start a podcast, doesn’t have a group on Facebook, isn’t really interested in doing daily emails, share some things that some of your coaching clients have done that our listeners could say, “Oh, I could do that.” Let’s get specific about what are some things they might implement.
Well, they may stick with, for example, we mentioned videos. If your people are on Facebook, Facebook Live’s a no-brainer, especially where Facebook’s putting so much emphasis on that. Facebook, they love Facebook Lives. If I was starting over again I would probably do a daily Facebook Live. I’ll do one or two a week. I’m going to start doing more of them. But I would do a daily one if I was just starting out.
When I started out with the podcast it was a daily show for the first 300 episodes. So when I’m talking with people I tell them it took me six weeks to get my first client from the podcast and they say, “Oh gee, that wasn’t bad at all.” Then I remind them, “Yeah, but it was a daily show. So six times seven days a week is 42. That’s the equivalent of almost a year of a weekly show.” This goes back to humans and human nature. Humans are impatient. So you’re seeing coaches that will try doing Facebook Lives for three or four straight days, or emails for a week. Then they don’t get business from it and they think, “Oh, this is stupid.” Then they’re off to the next bright, shiny object.
So I mean Facebook Live’s one of them. Maybe you like doing trainings, webinars. Whatever you’re doing, you should be growing your email list regardless because you own that email list. Maybe Instagram’s your thing. It’s not my thing. I’m not an Instagram guy, but maybe you’re more photogenic, you enjoy doing that, you’re a visual person. Instagram could be your thing. The key is to think, “Where are my ideal people hanging out?”
Yeah. I was just thinking that too. That kind of backs us up to the coach having clarity about who is it they really want to serve. Do you have some specific ways that you go about helping people identify who their tribe or audience ideally ought to be?
Yep. Well, what I do when I start working with, say, it could be a new coach or it could be a coach looking for a fresh start. Because I do work with some, they’ve been at it five years, they’re tired of their niche and they’re looking for a change. We go right from the back to the very beginning. I tell them, “Take the pressure off your shoulders. Don’t think that you’re going to have everything worked on day one because it never happens.” I find a lot of coaches are putting way too much pressure on themselves to choose this perfect niche. You just don’t know.
But what I say is take a yellow legal pad, jot down every potential niche that you’re thinking of. The little voice in your head’s going to be telling you, “Ooh, can you make money that way? I don’t know if you can make money.” I say ignore that right now because you can make money pretty much any way coaching. There’s someone I know that’s a coach for strippers. She’s a former stripper. I think it’s called Strip and Grow Rich. She’s doing well. I was going to make a pun and say she’s very polarizing, but we won’t make any pole jokes. I know a coach that is a handstand coach and doing apparently six figures a month, which blew me away. There’s a coach in my Facebook group that does medieval swordplay for men. That’s how he coaches the male clients that he has. So you can money lots of different ways with coaching. Don’t think, “Oh, can I make money this way?”
So I say jot down all the potential ones on a yellow legal pad. Then go online, see if there’s other coaches in that space. It’s not a bad thing if there’s competition. Some people say, “Oh gee, well there’s already I see some coaches on page one of Google doing this.” That’s probably a good sign. It means that there’s a market there for it. Next step I recommend doing is, and start a separate email account for this. Don’t use your main one because it’ll get gunked up. But start a research Gmail or Hotmail account. Sign up for their lists. See what they’re sending out to subscribers for their lead magnet. See how they’re talking to their people. See what they’re offering.
Ask yourself, “Okay.” You may decide, “I don’t feel like doing that niche,” and then you can cross it off. But some you could say, “You know what, I really like what he or she is doing but I’m going to kind of tweak it. Or I’m going to kind of merge it with this one as well, and put them in a blender and go like that.” If you do it that way you can narrow it down to a handful of ones that are your potential niches or focus. Then you’re a lot closer to finding out what the answer is. You may go through a couple evolutions. I know a coach who’s very successful. He’s gone through four, he told me, in the last 15 years or 12 years or something.
Well, it’s true that when you’ve been at this for a while you have to freshen things up in some way. Whether it’s going after a different niche, or different levels of people if you’re doing corporate coaching maybe in an organization. But to keep your own interest up in what you’re doing, and stay as excited about it so you convey that passion to the folks you’re working with, I think is really important.
Yeah. One of my clients actually, I just noticed today, she was in the HR world. Now she’s a sober coach. She’s helping clients who have drinking challenges with that and stuff. She was talking about it on social media, saying, “I just made this change. I know it’s a lot different than what you guys are accustomed to from me, but here’s what I’m doing.” You can just tell there’s a spark there. It’d be pretty boring if you stick to the same one for 40 years. That’s how I was getting at the end of real estate where I’d been at it a decade and it’s all I’d ever done. I thought, “If I’m 80 years old and I’m hauling open house signs around on Sunday afternoons to houses, just shoot me.” I do not want to be doing this at 80 years old.
Tell us a little bit about some of the breakthroughs you’ve helped people make. Because I know that stories and examples help our listeners to imagine, “Yeah, I could do that. That makes sense for me.”
Sure. Yeah. Well, one of my clients named Jason, he is a nice guy coach. His mentor or person he’s learned under is Robert Glover, who wrote the book No More Mr. Nice Guy. Jason, I don’t think he’d mind me telling this story because he said in the testimonial stuff, he’s doing really well. He had a goal of $10,000 a month for his magic number for revenue. This month he just about hit it. He’s at $9,000 and change, his best month. With that, we just made a few changes. Like we implemented a laser coaching package, which we could do a whole show on that, but it’s a really interesting concept. Short little 15-minute coaching sessions. It’s an easy sell, easier sell. People love it. So we implemented laser coaching and we got him more active in certain places where he had to be more active.
Hey, I’m sure you’re the same way, Meredith, with your clients. It’s the best email to get, especially an unsolicited testimonial late at night from a client saying, “Oh my God, I’m so happy. I hit my magic number or whatever.” I love those. So there’s an example of someone who he knows his stuff. He’s really good at what he does. That makes my job a lot easier. There are some people, I don’t care if you’re the best coach in the world, they just aren’t motivated. They want to lay around on the couch all day. They’re not willing to put that effort into it. Or they’re just constantly doubting themselves. They can’t get past that fear. You could be Tony Robbins, you’re not going to be able to help certain people. They have to want it for themselves.
Well, that’s a really good point. I think it’s kind of a good guideline for coaches that are looking for clients, especially if they’re early on or they’ve been struggling. You don’t want someone who just breathes, you know? And is willing to pay you your fee. You go into coaching because you want to make a difference in the lives of other people. So if you’re not able to achieve that because of the person’s attitude, resistance, or whatever’s getting in the way, it’s going to be a drain on your energy to have to deal with folks like that. You know, Marc, one of the things I’ve always admired about you and your coaching is you’re … I don’t want to say no nonsense, but I mean you’re very direct with folks. You don’t hesitate to let them know, “You’re going down the wrong path here.” You don’t wait for them to discover the mistake necessarily. You’re a very active coach. Do I have that right?
Yeah. I’ve had people say to me before, “Oh gee, that’s …” You know the coaches are out there that think you should just ask questions and never say a word. You just keep asking the same question over and over again, digging it. I’ve said a lot of times I feel like what I’m doing is coach-sulting, combining coaching and consulting. But I don’t care because at the end of the day my goal is to help the person get results, the client get from point A to point B. I can call it whatever I want as long as it’s helping the client.
That’s a big issue in the coaching world, especially with new coaches, is they think it’s some sort of magic dark arts. Not dark arts, but you know what I mean. Some magic thing where it’s like the force in Star Wars. That you have to be a certain person who can, Yoda, to do this. I tell them, “No, you don’t.” If you can help people get those results, then you could do this. You don’t need 10 years of training with some guy at the top of a mountain or something like that to do it. Don’t build it into something that it’s not. You’re there to help people. So with mine, the older I get, I’ve lost my filter I think on my mouth. If I see somebody who’s giving excuses and stuff, I have to call them out because that’s what I’d want someone to do for me as well.
And I think that goes back to your ideal clients. So you want to attract people who can take it, right? You don’t want somebody that you have to tiptoe around and soft peddle so that you don’t hurt their feelings.
You know from your own perspective, that’s not going to be helpful for them. So you want to work with people that are open-armed, saying, “Give me more. Tell me more.”
I don’t want to work with victims. I think especially on social media I see this. It’s funny. We’re recording and it’s right around your July the 4th. I’m a huge fan of the states. I’m in Canada, but sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong country. I think America’s great. I love the entrepreneurial spirit. I think that definitely an argument could be made that it’s the best country in the world. But you see a lot of Americans who are playing victim, like the American dream’s dead and they’re very negative and stuff. I can’t work with a victim-type mentality. If somebody’s blaming someone else for holding them down, and they’re talking about privilege, all the other stuff. I’m like “No, that’s not going to work here. We’re not going to work well together.”
I think it’s important for coaches to have that kind of criteria. It would be worth them making a list of not just the industries or niches they want to focus on. What does that person look like in terms of their attitudes? Not just what kind of work they do or some of the other more objective criteria, but more about who is the right person. So for you, how would you describe, other than they’re not a victim? What are other criteria that you use that might be useful for other coaches to consider?
Well, there was a time that I had my qualifications for potential clients was I had the fog and mirror approach. If they had a pulse, “Come on in. I can help you.” You know? I read Michael Port’s book, Book Yourself Solid. In that book he talks about the red velvet rope policy, where you treat your business like the hot new restaurant or club in town, where you’ve got the tall 350-pound bouncer with the clipboard that’s checking names coming in. Not everyone can come in with it. Once I started doing that, I took an hour or two one night to say, “Okay, who do I want to work with?” I came up with five criteria for mine.
For me, yours could be different, other people’s could be. But I mean there’s certain things like they have to be action takers. I don’t want to have to chase people down or haul them across the finish line. They have to have that fire in their belly. They have to respect boundaries. They can’t expect me to get back to them within 30 seconds if they shoot me an email, right? They have to pay me what I’m worth and on time. I like getting paid on time. I don’t want to send Vinny with a baseball bat down to California to collect my money. Things like that. So I came up with those five.
What I did at that time is I said any of my clients … I ranked all my existing clients and I had to let a couple go. But I said any new clients coming in will have to match those criteria. Now some people would say, “Well, how do you know if you’ve only talked to a prospect once for 30 minutes?” You can glean a lot from a quick conversation like that. My senses have become more finely tuned the longer I’m at it. Here’s a perfect example. The other day somebody flaked out on a call with me. She was a potential client. A couple days earlier she’d done the same thing. She was having tech issues with Zoom. I understand that. I get it. She wasn’t able to work Zoom or whatever, so we’d rescheduled. I told myself, “If she doesn’t show up, I’m done,” or whatever. Sure enough, she didn’t show up.
So she’s emailing me after because I’d messaged her and I said, “You weren’t on the call. I’m not going to be able to accept any more bookings from you. All the best.” I left it at that. She’s emailed me four or five times since then. I’m not taking another call with her because she would drive me crazy if we’re working together and we’ve had a couple of these mix-ups. Same thing with her clients. Is she as flaky with her clients? I’d have to think she could be. So there’s a few of my thoughts when it comes to choosing your ideal client.
Oh. That’s very rich. I want to pick up on a couple of things. One is you really can tell a lot, I think, in a 30-minute conversation if you have the clarity yourself about what you’re looking for. I think that’s why going through that exercise that you went through, where they determine, “What are the most important elements for me in working with a client?” Then been able to frame some questions, maybe that aren’t directly getting at that, but that their answers will give you some good indications of whether they’re going to have the commitment, follow-through, and all of the other parts that you want them to have. I think that’s really an important step.
The other thing I wanted to bring up based on what you said is I know there are a lot of times issues with coaches charging what they’re worth. Would you take a few minutes to talk about that? Do you see that a lot? How do you help them establish a recognition of their value?
I do see it a lot. I see a lot of newer coaches especially who are trying to cobble together little $50 single coaching sessions. Anyone I work with has to have a package, not single sessions. So I like for coaches to have a three-month package. It could be six months. It could be a year. There are some coaches, as you know, Steve Chandler does clients for life, and Steve Hardison, too. But I don’t want to be helping someone that’s charging 50 or $75 for an hour here and there. Because if you’re trying to cobble together too many of them, you’re doing to burn yourself out that way. I don’t think it’s the best way. I know it can work in certain situations, but it’s not my preferred approach with it.
When it comes to changing what you’re worth, I know that some people might think, “Oh gee, it’s common sense.” But the toughest person to convince isn’t the prospect or anyone in your marketplace, it’s the man or woman in the mirror. So once you convince yourself that you’re worth that, then the rest of it’s easier. People can pick up on … And you know me, Meredith, I’m more of a meat and potatoes guy. I’m not into energy or woo-woo and manifesting a whole lot. But there is a certain energy people could pick up on if you’re not sure of it.
So for example, if you said, “Marc, how much is your coaching package?” And I hemmed and hawed and I said, “Well, it’s $10,000 but here’s what you get. I’m not really sure, you know.” You’re going to pick up on that. Now if somebody asked me, “How much is it?” I said, “My one-on-one, three months, $10,000. Next question.” You know, you just spit it out there. but you have to be very clear on it.
There’s a funny story that a coach told me. He doubled his fees and he was really nervous to double them, because he’d never charged that much. He was doing a Skype call with a prospect. Now, the call was an audio call. You couldn’t do this on a video call. But the prospect said, “So how much is it to work with you?” The coach spit out his new high number. He told me he had to literally put his fist in his mouth to keep him from saying anything else. Because what’s a human temptation? That you then justify it and you try to oversell it. He said it was the longest 10 seconds of his life. It was dead silence on the other end. Then the person said to him, “Great. How do I pay?” He was like, “Oh, geez.” But that was very nerve-racking for him. For someone to have to shove their hand in their mouth to keep them from talking shows the challenge that coaches have.
You know, that is so true, because in the moment we want to fill the space quite often. That is such an important point for a coach. Because when you’re asking a client a question during a coaching call, sometimes if it’s a really good question, they have to think about it. They can’t just spit out an answer. The importance of patience, and waiting, and silence, to give a person time to think, I think is just as important when you’re asking the sales question of after giving a quote about your price.
So if they could apply that same mindset to that part of the interaction as they do when they’re coaching, I think that that is an important piece. It seems to me a lot of folks who go into the coaching profession do it because they love serving, and helping, and giving to others. So to ask for themselves, whether it’s money or some kind of help, is not always easy for them.
Yeah. Me coming from a real estate background, it was easier for me because it was always you had to sell or you didn’t eat. I know that sometimes coaching gets a bad rap because there’s some bad apples in the industry. I’m coming from real estate, which was down around politicians and used car salesmen. So for me it was actually a step up with it. But I was used to selling. I’m very grateful for my time in real estate because I didn’t have a lot of those hang-ups because I had built up my real estate business.
The issue with coaching is a lot of coaches come from maybe an HR background. They were a nurse, they were a teacher, something like that where they never had to sell. They got paid every second Thursday, and they got paid the same amount, it was in their account. Now all of a sudden they have to sell and it gets a little bit weird. They have to push past those fears. I’ll mention a book because you were talking about questions and being comfortable with silence. One of the best books I’ve come across is called Coaching Questions by Tony Stoltzfus, I believe it is. It’s a great book with lots of coaching questions. You have to get comfortable with the sound of silence. So if you have to listen to Simon & Garfunkel as you go about your day, The Sound of Silence, do that, but you have to be comfortable with it.
That’s great. Well, thank you for that tip for the questions book. Speaking of people coming from these different backgrounds, it seems to me that another aspect that you would have to help them with is this idea of, if they’re putting themselves out there on social media or even sending emails to a select list, avoid being safe. Be a little daring. But the thing that holds them back is fear of criticism. I know you have dealt with criticism, probably with ease these days, but what would you, or what do you say to clients who have that as something that’s holding them back?
It gets easier the more you do it. But you don’t have to do it. I like to … I don’t know. There’s something about me that I like to poke the bear or rattle the cage from time to time, and that’s not everybody’s style. Sometimes I will go in with like a more political-type post or whatever but it fits in with my business philosophy. I had a client ask me the other day, she’s like, “Do I have to talk about politics to be polarizing, because I’m not really interested in politics?” I said, “No. Not every coach should be.” A way to be polarizing could be if you’re a health coach, if you don’t agree with Crossfit for example, you don’t think it’s good, you’re going to get beat up a bit from there because there’s a lot of Crossfit fanatics. Of if you don’t believe in a certain diet, then putting out an opposing point of view.
Whatever niche you’re in, if you look at what a commonly held belief in that niche, as long as you believe the position you’re taking. Don’t make it up or whatever. But if you believe something completely opposite, don’t be afraid to put it out there and then defend it. So if I was in the sales coaching world, if I was a sales coach, and let’s say Grant Cardone puts something out there that I didn’t agree with, an email might be, “Why Grant Cardone is wrong about follow-ups,” or something like that. Then I’d defend it. So you’re not just bashing people, just saying, “Grant Cardone’s a big idiot. I hate him,” or something. You’re actually putting out a reasoned logical argument and you’re making people think.
That’s a better approach than just vomiting out motivational quotes all day long or sharing Oprah quotes, Tony Robbins, things like that. Don’t get me wrong. I like motivational quotes, but people want to hear from you. To stand out, you do have to poke the bear at times and not be afraid to polarize. I always say stay away from the mushy middle. The rewards are outside of that.
That’s such a good point because too often we want to do what we consider safe, and not rock the boat. When in reality, if you are pushing away certain people, you’re drawing to you the ones that are your ideal clients. So the more you’re willing to take a stand, and I agree with you. The older we get, the more we’re willing to take a risk. It’s like, “Who cares?” But the idea of changing the way you think about it is not, “How many people might criticize me?” It’s, “How many people might I attract because they see what my position is on this particular topic?”
Well, and I’m not going to get political on you. I don’t want to give you more editing that you have to cut stuff out. But just last week I was getting beat up because I put out there a pro-capitalist post. I’m a proud, unapologetic capitalist. Nowadays that’s, believe it or not, controversial. It’s somehow not politically correct. I had some people where I took a dig, a swipe at socialism and Bernie Sanders, who were angry at me and sent me messages and stuff. But you know what? I had a lot more people who supported me in the comments and sent me messages. I found a lot of people were like, “Marc, thank you for saying that. I didn’t want to say anything publicly because I didn’t want these kooks jumping all over me. But I just want to let you know that I appreciated what you said.” So 70, 80% of the people who had an opinion were supportive of me. But human nature is to look at the 10 or 20% and feel bad because they’re attacking you. Then I’m like, “No, wait a minute. There’s a lot more people who actually agreed with that.”
Same thing when I had James Arthur Ray on my podcast recently from The Secret. He had a big thing that happened where he had an event, a few participants who unfortunately died at this tragic event. Some people said I shouldn’t have had him on my show. I said, “Look, he served his time in prison. He lost everything. It’s an interesting story. I want to hear the whole story, right? I think this is interesting.” That was my highest downloaded show of the year so far. A lot of people messaged me saying they loved it. But I had a few people that said, “That’s disgusting. How could you?” or whatever. They’re not my people. Nobody’s perfect. I said, “Look, I’m not blaming the families of the people who passed away. I’d be thinking the same thing if my son was involved with that. But I’m going to have him on the show because it’s an interesting story and I think people deserve a second chance.”
That’s great. One of the things that’s kind of coming to mind here is something that I think can apply to these coaches for themselves, and as they work with clients or talk to prospective clients. That’s the idea of observing versus judging, where we judge ourselves sometimes for making mistakes or taking a risk that we wish we hadn’t. Or we judge other people for what they did, like you having him as a guest. When if we simply observe it and say, “Well, that was interesting,” without the need to label it as good or bad, right or wrong, I think we can live a lot happier lives within ourselves because we’re not always keeping that list of, “Well, what did this person do? Or what did this person not do?” I think that’s especially important with coaches when working with their own clients to keep that open mind.
Yes. It doesn’t feel good to be attacked. Don’t get me wrong. I was kind of annoyed with a few of the messages last week. But at the end of the day, the positives outweighed the negatives. I would rather do that than just play it safe and be posting, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.” Don’t get me wrong. That’s a great quote. But I would rather put out my opinions to draw my ideal clients. That’s a better way to do it, so.
I think that’s an excellent way for us to kind of wrap up too, is to look at and encourage coaches to look at, “Who am I? What do I stand for? How can I communicate that in the world, so that the people who resonate with me and my message are drawn to me?” If we do play it safe in the middle with these quotes, who’s going to get to know who you are in doing that? I think the overall question is, “How can I become known? What am I willing to tolerate in terms of criticism or rejection in order to get out there in a big way to reach my ideal clients?”
Yeah. One of the reasons I like poking the bear sometimes is I’ve had coaches tell me, “Marc …” They’ll laugh if I show a screenshot of a troll or something like that who’s commented or sent me a nasty message. They’re like, “Thanks for sharing that because you had to laugh about it and I realized it wasn’t the end of the world.” So by me sharing those things I show that, “Hey, it’s who cares.” Someone 1,000 miles away in their mom’s basement shot you a message, a keyboard warrior. It’s not the end of the world. Have fun with it. Don’t take yourself or your business too seriously. Just get out there. Have fun. Help people. Make money. Feel good about making money and helping people.
That’s such great advice to end with because I think we can take ourselves so seriously, especially when we’re looking at where’s our income coming from. If we can relax, enjoy the process, and take time to have that clarity instead of, as you were saying, stay busy working on our websites and doing things that fill our days but don’t fill our bank accounts.
Yeah. It’s got to move the needle. So Thoreau has a quote. He says, “It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are you busy at doing?”
That’s a great quote.
That’s a good quote. I know I kind of crapped on quotes earlier, but that’s a good quote for coaches to remember.
Well, there are these quotes that are important, I think, for us to have in mind to keep us on track, so we make sure we are doing the right things. Marc, it’s been a pleasure having you with me. You’ve shared so many great nuggets. I know that no matter what level of experience a coach has, they’re going to take away a lot of great information from today. So thank you so much.
Thank you for having me.