039: How to Partner with Other Consultants and Make a Ton of Money While Growing Your Businesses

039: How to Partner with Other Consultants and Make a Ton of Money While Growing Your Businesses


Strong for Performance Podcast


039: How to Partner with Other Consultants and Make a Ton of Money While Growing Your Businesses

by Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Do you find it hard to make time for marketing and sales because you’re busy delivering your services? My guest Dr. Kevin Gazzara has found effective ways to keep his firm’s pipeline full. Kevin is co-founder and Senior Partner at Magna Leadership Solutions based in Phoenix, AZ. Since founding his company 12 years ago, Keven has consistently done five things to grow his business. Take notes to keep track of all the nuggets Kevin drops, and stay until the end because he shares a BIG idea that’s free to implement and could impact your visibility on Google searches.

You’ll discover:

  • What Kevin learned from 10 successful consultants about building a successful business
  • One of the most important decisions you can make up-front to be sure you get in front of your best clients
  • The benefits of writing a book in positioning you with potential clients
  • Why you need to invest the time in building a solid network and delivering value without looking for reciprocity
  • The Task Quotient Assessment, a free quiz you can take to identify the kinds of work activities you enjoy the most

Watch the episode:


Connect with Kevin

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Give it to the leaders you work with!

025: Focus on a Niche and Acquire More Clients

025: Focus on a Niche and Acquire More Clients


Strong for Performance Podcast


025: Focus on a Niche and Acquire More Clients

by Jodi Flynn

Do you struggle to identify a niche to focus on? My guest Jodi Flynn describes her path to identifying her favorite type of client. After she did that, she received more engagements with companies that were just the right match for her passion and skills. Jodi is the founder of Women Taking the Lead and host of the Women Taking the Lead podcast.

You’ll discover:

  • A behavior that holds many female leaders back in their careers
  • The mindset that can cause people-pleasing and the mindset that frees you from it
  • Why it’s important to identify the kinds of people you most enjoy working with
  • Why using labels or language like “Type A Personality” can push potential clients away and cost you business
  • The phrase Jodi used with a prospect that landed the sale and helped her discover a huge opportunity

Watch the episode:


Connect with Jodi

Get this free PDF.

Give it to the leaders you work with!

016: Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network AND Your Business

016: Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network AND Your Business


Strong for Performance Podcast


016: Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network AND Your Business

by John Nemo

Have you struggled with how to use LinkedIn most effectively? Meet John Nemo, author of LinkedIn Riches and Content Marketing Made Easy. John helps coaches, consultants and other service professionals make the most of this powerful platform. He knows that creating the right connections and then building strong relationships with them are the keys to expanding your business. In this interview John shares many specific strategies you can start using TODAY.

You’ll discover:

  • How to create a LinkedIn profile that attracts your ideal clients
  • Why it’s important to focus on just ONE niche instead of trying to appeal to everyone
  • How to personalize your connections requests and increase the number of acceptances
  • A template for a script you can use with 1st level connections that elicit responses and start a conversation
  • Why you’ll want to ask permission before sending links or resources to someone
  • How to write up a client success story as a case study that does the selling for you

Watch the episode:


Connect with John

Get this free PDF.

Give it to the leaders you work with!

Read the Transcription

Welcome to another episode of the Strong for Performance podcast. I’m your host, Meredith Bell. And today I am super excited and delighted to have with me, John Nemo. Welcome, John.

Oh, so glad to be here.

Well, John and I have known each other now for almost four years. I first heard John when I was participating in a webinar series around LinkedIn, and I think for probably 30 or more speakers, and John is one who stood out to me. He gave more ideas in his presentation per minute than anybody else. So, I was very impressed, and I attended his webinar and signed up for his LinkedIn Riches course right on the spot because I could tell it had valuable information that would serve me well.

And since then, I’ve been involved in his monthly calls which are always very valuable. And John, I’ve read out of your books, LinkedIn Riches and Content Marketing Made Easy, which I have the Kindle version of, so I can’t hold them up but thank you-

For your listeners, I was doing the gratuitous book flyby for the audio listeners.

Yes. We’ll talk to you about how you can get those books a little bit later. But you’re going to want to get out paper and pencil and take lots of notes, or your iPad or whatever you write on, because John talks fast and he’s just got so much valuable information. John, before we jump into specific strategies and suggestions that you have around LinkedIn, tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got here.

Yeah, great. Thank you for having me. Kind of my story really quickly. I grew up as a son of two English teachers, so literally grew up in a house lined floor to ceiling with books. Storytelling, that whole thing, teaching was just in my DNA and in my blood. And so that led to a career in journalism working for newspapers, the Associated Press and writing articles, eventually doing public relations, eventually social media for different trade associations.

Back in 2012, like a lot of your listeners, coaches, consultants, and solopreneurs, I really had this itch to go out on my own. And so, I made this crazy leap, this crazy decision. I had our three young kids at home. My wife was home taking care of them. I had the job, that safety job and I quit. I quit and launched my own business with one client and enough money for 30 days.

And I had an idea. I had an idea at that time that I could find clients in a kind of unconventional way – especially back then in 2012 – which was to use LinkedIn. And I’ll get to more of that whole story but basically what that led me to be able to do was start my own business, start finding clients on LinkedIn and that really evolved into eventually having so much success there that people, like you, started saying, “Hey, this is great. Teach me what you’re doing. Don’t just fish for me, teach me how to fish.”

And so that led to writing a book, LinkedIn Riches, an online course and then writing more books and more courses on content marketing and webinars. And so, what I do today is I offer one-on-one coaching and then online courses. And really my core audience that I focus on is coaches and consultants. Anyone who’s kind of a solopreneur running their own business and helping them attract and engage and sell to their ideal clients online but without being sleazy, without being you know heavy-handed, used-car-sales-person type technique.

Very much genuine, authentic, true to your personal self, using content, using LinkedIn. And I love it, Meredith. It’s just my favorite thing to do.

Well, I know, because your enthusiasm in our monthly calls is just very invigorating and motivating for all of us. And what I especially appreciate is the specific examples that you give of clients. And one of the things, because I work with so many coaches and consultants as well, they struggled with their LinkedIn profile. How do I make it effective? What does it need to have?

And I know that that is something you are an expert in. In fact, I just love your copywriting style and it’s one of the things that caused me to want to work more closely with you because it’s conversational. It is genuine. And so, I see myself as being authentic and wanting to come across as trustworthy and your approach really resonated with me.

Why don’t you talk a little bit or a lot about what does it take to create a really effective LinkedIn profile. What are the ingredients?

Right. And I think this is so critical especially if you are a coach or consultant, someone in the high trust industry. I think about, if I’m going to put my life in your hands, so to speak, as I go my professional well-being, like I really have to know, like and trust you. And I can’t get that from my resume.

And so, what 99% of LinkedIn profiles do and kind of what the people have been trained to do on LinkedIn is upload it like a resume. It’s written in a third person. It talks about you like you’re a famous athlete or a Rockstar, like Meredith Bell has done such famous things as, let’s say … We write it in this resume format. And what I tried to teach coaches and consultants right away is to flip that upside down and instead make a, what I call, client face, which it comes from one of my all-time favorite books. You’ve heard me talk about it, Meredith, but How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Dale Carnegie wrote this all the way back in 1936, and I really took this approach on LinkedIn. this one line that stood out to me, he said, “Your ideal clients, your ideal customers don’t care about you. They care about themselves morning, noon and after supper.” And he said supper because I guess, it was the 1930s and that’s how you talk back then.

I was like, “Yeah, that’s it.” They don’t want to read my resume. They don’t care about my accolades. The people coming to me for coaching and consulting want to know how can you fix my problem; how can you help me? Are you someone who understands my world, my industry, my niche? And so, what I teach people to do with your LinkedIn profile is instead of being that resume, its client facing.

Then here’s like a one-sentence right away you can immediately use as the first line of your profile. And I have a template for this, but the first line is, “What I do,” colon. You say, “What I do,” in all capital letters and you say, “I help,” and then you insert a target audience. “I help this audience achieve or get,” and then you list some benefits that they want.

“I help my target audience get these benefits by providing one-on-one coaching and consulting.” And what that does is people immediately pre-qualify. So, let’s say, you want to coach dentists, and we’ll talk about why about why the riches are in the niches with LinkedIn, but let’s say, I’m a business coach and consultant. I want to help dentists. So, I have a lot of dentists who are looking for business advice.

Your LinkedIn profile, the first line would say, “I help dentists,” and then what are some benefits. “I help dentists get more patients, increase revenue and improve staff culture by providing dental specific one-on-one coaching.” And then the next line might be, “What makes me unique? As a former dentist who practiced for 25 years, I know exactly what it takes run a successful clinic. That’s why now as a coach, I help dentists, blah-blah-blah,” like what others say, and then you put in some testimonials.

And this is the approach you want to take with LinkedIn. Having a profile that’s all about a target niche audience that you serve and preferably one where you have experience. One of most successful and easy ways to really stand out on LinkedIn as a coach or consultant is go back to where you’ve worked previously or areas that you specialized in and go approach those people.

If you’re a former executive in the healthcare industry and now you’re a business coach, go market to healthcare executives. This is the simple thing is when I first started, I didn’t have any experience as a coach, but I have worked as a marketing guy in different trade associations. And one of the trade associations I worked in was for debt collectors.

And so, I did public relations for the trade association in social media. So, I knew the industry. I knew debt collectors. I knew they needed PR help obviously, because nobody wants to talk to debt collectors and they’re not really popular, but they need business and they’re good people, and they needed help with marketing.

When I went on LinkedIn, when I jumped with that one client and I have 30 days, I’m like, I need clients fast. I’m going to be a marketing agency but who do I appeal to? The best advice I got was the riches are in the niches. Be a big fish in a small pond. I reformatted my LinkedIn profile to say debt collection marketing guy, debt collection marketing services. I help debt collectors get more sales, increase revenue and reduce complaints by providing industry-specific marketing services, PR advice and website design or something like that.

And what I found, Meredith, was now when a debt collector looked at my profile, when they got an invite, they’re like, “Wow, this guy is all about me. He’s walked in my shoes. He’s worked in my world. And look, here’s all the ways he can help me get what I want.” And so, at the very high level, that’s really what the profile needs to be client-facing and really appeal to a target audience.

How do you respond to coaches or consultants who say, “But I work across a lot of industries? I’m concerned about limiting myself and limiting my opportunities.” How do you respond to that?

Yeah. Here’s what I would say. If you try to be everything to everyone on LinkedIn, you’ll be nothing to nobody, like you literally … We’re all self-centered. I want to know, Meredith, if I’m hiring someone, do you work with solo business owners? I was looking for tax guy, I didn’t care if you work with dentists and doctors and what. I want to know; do you work with internet online business owners?

We’re all self-centered, and so what you can do as a coach and consultant, you can really go all-in on LinkedIn for one niche and use other marketing channels for other niches. Use your website, whatever. The other thing I really recommend too is you can list multiple experiences on LinkedIn, multiple jobs, multiple audiences. One of the things I teach is if at all possible, focusing on one or two target audiences on the top half of your LinkedIn profile, the summary, the headline.

I’m all about helping these one or two audiences with this niche approach. Lower down later on, then you can say, “I also helped this audience and here’s a whole separate listing about that. I also helped this audience. Here’s a separate listing about that,” because what it’s going to do and the way LinkedIn evolves over the last, how many ever years, is much of the business you’re going to generate on LinkedIn is going to be you reaching out to someone, outbound lead generation.

I do a search on LinkedIn. I connect with all these different dentists. I start a relationship. I start engaging. I offer free tips. Then they hire me to coach them. I’m using that example. One thing people worry about is, “Oh, what if someone from this industry finds me on LinkedIn and sees I’m niched for dentists? Oh, no.”

That’s such a small percentage of leads as opposed to if you’re actively going out every day and connecting to a hundred dentists, your profile better says, “I’m the dentist business coach.” Because you know what those dentists want to know, “Do you even know my industry? Do you know all the learning curve? Have you walked in my shoes? Have you ever worked with other dentists?”

They don’t want a generalist. They want a specialist. And so, I can’t emphasize that enough. You can hedge your bets on LinkedIn with your profile lowered down in the experience section, but if you want to get results, if you really want to do well, pick one or two audiences. Go outbound, reach out to them, start relationships and that’s really where the business is.

And that’s the key is getting out of this mindset of I have to appeal to everyone. It has to be a resume. I have to please every different audience ever possible and just go, “No, I’m using this as a sales tool. Who’s an audience I want to go after right now? I’m going to focus on them.” Six months from now, I might change audiences. Great, it’s a digital profile, just change it. That’s the beauty of this.

That makes so much sense, and I think it’s important for people to understand that it’s very rare for your profile to just appear to somebody, or them to find you. It’s much more contingent on you reaching out to connect with other people. And so, tell us your approach to customizing that invitation to connect because that’s an important … I don’t think it’s a good idea for people to just click connect, connect, connect without customizing or personalizing it somewhat.

What are some things that you’ve seen work well there?

Right. An approach that I’ve taken and had a lot of success with is you’ve really got to do personalized one-on-one marketing. Just like if you walked in and met me for coffee or met me at a bar, you would start asking me questions. Where are you from? Do you have a family? Where did you go to school? Do you have a favorite sports team? You would break the ice.

You wouldn’t just walk in and go, “Hi, John. I’m Meredith Bell. I’d like to coach you, here are my rates.” Like, “Whoa, where is the professional courtship.” Or you wouldn’t walk in without any context, just ask me for 15 minutes of my time. So, when you reach out to someone on LinkedIn, what I love about LinkedIn it’s 600 million members, 200 different countries, 2 new members join every second.

What LinkedIn has done in a brilliant fashion in a very big brother kind of fashion, it collected every scrap of data that we’ve entered into our profiles. You can reverse engineer that with LinkedIn searches to say, “Oh, I’m a business coach. I want to target dentists in this location who went to this university who have this many year of experience, who have this many employee.”

Now when you refine that search, you can reach out to each dentist on the list, say, it’s dentists in Detroit, Michigan. And say they’re dentists in Detroit, Michigan that went to the University of Michigan. This is an example. You can niche down in the LinkedIn search that much. Now I can go to each dentist on that list, send an invite that says, “Hey, Fred. Hey, Sally. Hey, Bill. I hope life in Detroit is treating you well. P.S. Go blue. I thought I’d reach out to connect because I work with a lot of dentists. Cheers.”

That’s a great ice breaker invite. They’re immediately intrigued. Their curiosity is immediately peaked because they’re thinking, “Wow, this person took time to look at it to do some icebreakers.” One thing I learned too, Meredith, in How to Influence People is you know what everyone’s favorite topic is, it’s themselves. You want to ask me about my hobbies and passions and sports teams. I’ll go all day like you’re the greatest. This is a great conversation. You’re asking me all about hockey.

And so, one of the examples … I’ll tell a quick story to drive this home, how this turn into business. I called it the “Send it in, Jerome” story. Basically, I was looking for that collection executives to connect with to sell our marketing services in 2012. And one gentleman I came across. He lived in Connecticut or worked in Connecticut and I don’t know anything about the East Coast really, but I love college sports.

And so, I looked at where he went to college or university. He went to University of Pittsburgh and it was in the 1980s and I was like, “What do I know about the University of Pittsburgh in the 1980s?” I’m a college sports fan. I remember they had a great basketball team. And the Pitt Panthers, and I remember, oh, yeah, there was this famous play. One of their players, Jerome Lane, went up and dunked the ball during a game that was on national TV.

And the announcer, Bill Raftery had this iconic call, and he’s like, “Send it in, Jerome,” because when he dunked it, the glass backboard shattered, and everyone cheered. And I remember as a kid watching it and then suddenly, “Whoa,” like if it was today, it would be a viral YouTube clip, but anyway, I’m like. “Okay.” So, in 10 seconds I looked at this guy’s profile, saw he went to Pitt during the 80s. Surely, he remembers, “Send it in, Jerome.”

So, I sent him an invite. “Hey, I want to reach out to connect. P.S. Do you remember ‘Send it in, Jerome’?” He accepts the invite. Now, remember I have a client-facing profile that says, “I help debt collectors get all these benefits.” He’s a debt collector. “Oh, okay. This guy is all about me.” Gets this personal invite. He’s curious. He looks at my profile, sees I can serve him, writes me back a LinkedIn message, and he says, “I was at the game. ‘Send it in, Jerome,’ like I was a student. I was at the game. I’ll never forget it.”

So, then I sent him back a YouTube clip of the video, he’s like, “Oh, man, the memories.” I can almost hear the song Glory Days playing in the background from Bruce Springsteen. He’s back in college. He’s having fun. We’re bantering. We’re breaking the ice about an onward topic that took me 10 seconds to come up with on a LinkedIn invite.”

And now, it pivots into the business side because he looks at my profile. He sees, I’m all about him. I offer all the services to help him get what he wants. And he says, “Hey, I looked at your profile. I’m really impressed. We’re actually looking for marketing help for our agency. Can we have a call tomorrow?” “Sure.”

So, we had a call, closed a $10,000 contract that next day. And it was really because it was so niched and it was so personalized because when I asked him, I was auditing clients at the end of that year, why did you choose me. Was it my website, my logo, my brochure? And he goes, “No, man. It was, ‘Send it in, Jerome.’ Like I just knew you’d be really fun to work with. We hit it off.” And he goes, “I knew that if you were that personalized in marketing to me, that you’d help us do that with our clients. Show us how to do that on LinkedIn with the hospital executives, we want to collect debt for.” And I’m like, “Yeah, we can do that.”

And so, that’s an example of personalizing that engagement on LinkedIn, one-on-one messaging, really instead of trying to do kind of the salesy approach or just blasting things out. And it’s harder to do and it takes more time, but it’s what works in real life, and it also works, imagine this, online because it’s how humans interact, right?

That is such a fabulous story, and I love it for a number of reasons. One, it shows the importance of taking time to look at someone’s profile, to see where there might be some common ground and interest. I think sometimes the pressure is on to reach out to a lot of people and it’s all a numbers game. And what you just illustrated with that story is, “No, it’s better to slow down, take your time and do a quality invitation that says to the person,” because you didn’t say, “Oh, I went to your profile and I looked.”

You didn’t give all that preliminary stuff. You just jumped right to “Send it in, Jerome,” and he knew then that you knew you had gone to Pitt without you having to say it. And so that kind of connection and credibility, it’s amazing to me what that does to build trust because instantly, it conveyed to him probably on a subconscious level, a lot of different things about you which you mentioned that he said that you’d be fun.

But I just think we need to really hammer that home because people feel pressured to get the numbers.

And there’s nothing worse than giving the generic script that just basically says, “Hey, you’re a number to me. I’m trying to pedal some services. There’s something about just taking the time to make a comment. For example, as we’re recording this, I’m in Minnesota. We just fired the general manager for our hockey team. That’s all I can talk about online. It was like, if someone who’s a hockey fan, it doesn’t have to be sports, connect with me on Linked in and say, “Hey did your team find a new general manager?” I’d be like, “We’ll be telling you everything I think.”

And all of a sudden, we’re having this fun banter because he’s taking enough time to look and know I’m a nut about hockey. And it could be sailing. It could be reading. It could be the city I live in and it’s just, there is. There’s a psychological connection. There’s a level there that also separates you from 99% of people connected on LinkedIn. And all these invites and all these pitches and I hear you actually ask me about where I went to college and what I think of living in the city or you mentioned you also worked at this company or our new …. And it just what we forget, Meredith, is we’re marketing to human beings.

That’s right.

You can’t market toward humans with algorithms and scripts. You have to bring in the emotional. And the real hard part about this that so many of my clients struggle with is how do I overlay the real life enjoyable, fun to hang out with Meredith Bell into a LinkedIn message. How do I do that? How do I not sound stiff and formal or salesy? It’s really the secret is what you mentioned earlier is conversational. It’s having a conversational tone in these one-on-one messages.

The way that I found that it works really well, and I talked about this all the time inside the LinkedIn Riches training, so you know, but the money is in the mailbox. The money is in this one-on-one interaction, the bantering, the personality where you can share a funny GIF emoji or crack an inside joke that you have with this connection about where they live and the weather.

There’s a real format too where you engage with someone, you break the ice, and then step two is you’re going to ask permission. Curious, are you looking for blank? And that’s where I’ll say, a benefit. “Are you looking to generate more leads with LinkedIn? I know you’re a coach, are you looking for that?” And then I’ll say, “The reason I ask is I have blank,” some sort a free resource, a free webinar, a free book, a free whatever. “If you like,” this is where I ask permission, “I’m happy to share the information or the link. If not, no worries.” And you take the pressure off.

This is a script I’ve developed called messaging magic, these four parts. You ask a question. You offer a free resource, and then you take off any pressure and you just break the ice, like you make it very conversational. You don’t spam people with links. You don’t ask for time. That’s another big thing with LinkedIn is people will connect to you and immediately ask for a phone call. And it’s like, “Let’s have a little professional courtship. You know I’m not going to marry you yet.”

People’s valuable asset as a prospect is my time. I don’t know you yet. You didn’t even ask me if I’d be interested in coaching help right now. Maybe I don’t need help. Maybe I already have a coach. Why didn’t you ask me? If I’m a coaching and I’m marketing to dentists in Detroit, I’m breaking the ice talking about Detroit and University of Michigan.

And then I’m saying, “Curious, do you have a coach right now or are you ever looking for coaching? The reason I ask is I love working with dentists as a business coach. In fact, if you’re interested, I’ve got a great free case study on how I help a dentist in Michigan increase revenue 6,000%. If you like, I can share a link to the PDF or if this isn’t of interest to you or not a focus, no worries.”

And then you just stay connected. You try again a month later. This is how you build these relationships and people respect that because you’re asking permission and you’re letting them qualify themselves and can kind of self-select. And that’s where the content comes in to, like capture their attention with great stories and what I call infotainment, informing them and entertaining them and getting them to know, like and trust you because coaches and consultants, they have to know you.

They have to like you. They have to feel an emotional, I would like to have a beer or a coffee with you type of connection because I’m not going to hire a coach that I wouldn’t go have a beer with. It’s like, “Why I am investing my life into you? I’ve got to really know you.” And it’s hard to do that online unless you take that conversational approach.

Well, you just packed in a lot of content and value there in your last statements. And I want to make sure people really get this because we’ve all been inundated with people who request to connect with us. And then immediately, it just seems like it’s more and more prevalent now, they are trying to sell, “Oh, you need this.” Well, how do you know? Like you say, there’s been no effort to get to know anything about me.

A lot of times, they haven’t even looked at my profile because they think I’m a coach, which I’m not. We have tools that are used by coaches, but I can always tell they haven’t done any real reading of this to get to know me at all. But what you were saying I have found also to be so true that … Because I used to put links in. If you’d like to have a conversation, just use my calendar link or if you’d like to get this free, whatever it is, just use this. I don’t do that anymore either. I learned that from you.

The idea of asking permission makes a huge difference because then you see who’s really raising their hand and that you can have a nice conversation with from there and follow up and ask. In fact, recently, I had sent an invitation to people to get this free thing. And those that had said yes, I sent a follow up email a month or two later saying, “Did you have a chance to read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.” And some have turned into sales conversations because of that follow up.

And I think that that sequence of patience, taking your time and recognizing that you can’t rush this. But one of the things I want you to go a little bit deeper in because this is a true power tool, this idea of a case study. Talk about how your advice because I know you’ve worked one on one with a number of consultants where you’ve helped them pull out their stories, pull out these success case studies and how you encourage them to use those on LinkedIn.

Yeah, this is a great analogy because I just did this with a client who got a five-figure contract in less than seven days. And so, here’s what we did. She came to me, she said … Her name is Melissa Thibodeaux and she says I can share all of that publicly. And you can look her up on LinkedIn and I mentioned her all the time in training calls.

But Melissa came to me and said, “Hey, you know, I’m going to go out on my own as a consultant. I’m not really sure yet of how to niche myself.” I said, “Well, tell me your story.” “Well, I worked in a staffing agency industry for decades, and I was the star performer and I had a lot of success.” She initially says to me, Meredith. She goes, “So I’m thinking maybe I’ll market myself to HR people or employers and help them with company culture and hiring practices.”

I said, “It’s really good but you were like a total Rockstar in staffing, right?” She’s like, “Oh, yeah. You know I took one branch from $600,000 a year to $48 million and it only took like 48 months or four years.” I’m like, “What!?” It was something like 600 grands to I think 16 million in revenue in four years that she did with a failing branch.”

I’m like, “That is a case study, like why are we making this hard? Like go to the people where you’ve already walked in their shoes and had success and sell and tell that story.” What we did was we niched Melissa to staffing agencies. We said she is a staffing agency consultant. What I do, I help staffing agencies increase revenue, retain top performers and improve their bottom line by providing decades of industry-specific experience and success.”

And so, we redo her profile to niche into staffing agency owners and then we write a case study. And it’s very easy because she just tells a story. It started with the $5 Starbucks gift card. What did? Oh, this $48 million change or whatever it was. And it was about her approach to building and turning around this failing staffing branch.

And so, what we did with this case study is we followed three very simple things that I put into my content marketing approach, which is what it was like, what the situation was, what happened, what did you do to improve it, and what it’s like now. And so, for Melissa, it was just a three-part story, what it was like the branch she got put in charge of was failing? What happened? She did these different techniques and things to improve it starting with a five-dollar gift card. And then what it’s like now? It’s up to $16 million a year, I mean, how many ever million percent growth that is.

What we did then to connect it to LinkedIn was client-facing profile for staffing agencies, case study, how I took a staffing agency from 600 grand to $16 million in 48 months. And then we sent that and invited staffing agency owners that she connects with, “Hey, curious, are you looking for any tips on how to grow your agency, how to grow or turn around a failing branch? If you are, I have a great case study, happy to share the link.”

Yes, some people said yes. And the interesting thing here, Meredith, is she didn’t get thousands of views. She didn’t get hundreds of likes but the people that did read it, one of them within the first seven days of publishing it called her on the phone, said, “I’m in Orlando. What’s it going to cost for me to fly you down for two days to train my entire office?” Basically, like name your price. And she’s like, “I don’t know what to do. I just started my business.” She’s like, “Help me price this out.” I’m like, “All right, we’ll figure it out. Say yes. Say yes.” “Make up a number.”

This is the power of connecting with people. This is what I do with the debt collectors. This is what you can do with content and case studies because again, case studies are so powerful if they show that transformation, what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now. And if you can do that for dentists in Detroit to show how a struggling dentist in Michigan used your techniques to get over this hump, other dentists are going to go, “Oh, cool. You’re there for him or her. You can do it for me.”

That’s what this person who read Melissa’s case study. He was like, “I want you to do it for my failing branch what you did for that one.” Very-

That is so great. And I want to just give a couple of examples really quickly because we have two case studies of people that have used our products, one hospital and one with a credit union. And so, I wore up the case study but the star of it is the consultant who actually put that organization. And so, now they are connecting. I’ll give the credit union as an example.

He’s connecting with other credit union executives in part of his follow-up to, after connecting with them is asking them if they’d like to see a case study of work, he’s done with another credit union. It’s exactly that same model and what I’m thinking that would be so valuable to our listeners is for them to think about clients they’d helped, go get a case study, ride it up.

Then that will guide them as to who they should be connecting with on LinkedIn, is other executives that are in that same industry so that they can see how this person helped that industry. It’s that whole niching thing but niching around the case study that I just think would make it so easy for them to get a connection.

Yeah, and just tie it to the benefits they want. The pain points and the benefits are all very similar typically, so in Melissa’s case, it’s how do I get more profit revenue out of our branch? How do I retain these high performers? How do I improve morale? How do I systematize? She knew, she’s like, “This is what you need to do.” I’m like, “Just put it into one good story.”

Take a look at the evening news. They never just say, “Well, you know, test scores were up 8,000% in this district,” they go and show you a student at a desk and they tell you the story. And they interviewed the mom saying, “Yeah, little Sally really is doing good with studying,” like they humanize it. And so, you’ve got to humanize your approach. Ideally, you do it with content that also helps people get to know, like and trust you so that your personality comes through.

This is the other big thing I want to make sure our listeners and viewers here is, your biggest advantage in the marketplace as a coach, consultant, anything else, your biggest advantage is you. It’s your personality. It’s your style of communication. It’s the journey you’ve been on. It’s the unique things that you’ve done. You’ve got to really leverage that as part of your personal brand because let’s face it, everything is commoditized. There are a million LinkedIn trainers you can pick. There are a million coaches. There are a million consultants that can do the same things you do.

Why are people going to choose you? Because they like you, because they know you, because they feel like, “You know what? I just love talking to Meredith. Every time I leave, I just feel happy.” Like this is awesome. She gives us great content and I just loved her personality and we laughed and it’s always fun, like that’s because you’ve put your brand, and people know what they’re getting.

The more you put your personality into your content whether you do a podcast, video, sharing authentic photos of yourself, “Oh, here I am in my 80s gear,” whatever like, I have a lot of self-deprecation and humor in my content because that’s me. I’m nuts. It’s like if you want a real stiff formal LinkedIn trainer, there’s plenty of those. But if you want a goofball who’s going to do 80s jokes and pop culture references, that’s me.

It’s similar techniques and similar strategies but it’s connecting with the teacher, connecting with the consultant and the only way someone could do that online and bridge that gap is you’ve got to put yourself out there. You’ve got to share your authentic self, share your journey, share your stories, share your passions. You will attract people that it resonates with. You will attract the right type of clients. And more importantly, you will repel clients that would not be a good fit because they won’t enjoy your sense of humor or they don’t like 80s jokes.

I’ve repelled a lot of people, thank goodness, that would have been terrible fits for me or would have been nightmare clients. But I’ve attracted these great clients, we laughed the whole time. We still get tons of work done. We crush it. We achieve our goals, but we have fun because they came into my world through content that said, “Oh, I like this person. This is just like me or I could see us hanging out, having fun.” And that’s the key thing with coaching and consulting is you’ve got to really connect at that emotional level.

Great point. And we’re running up on our time, but I do want you to take just a minute because your Content Marketing Made Easy book is so packed with great information on how to develop and use and repurpose content. But you have one favorite that you feel like has been your secret weapon, so I can’t let you go without sharing what that is.

Yeah. I just got a five-figure sales conversation today from this, from books. This book sees how thin. For the viewers like it’s very thin. I think it’s like … It’s not even … It’s like 110 pages. This book has brought in so much revenue because there is no better content marketing machine on the planet than a book.

For example, people go on Amazon all the time and they’re not shopping. They’re looking for solutions. They’re using it like a search engine. People go on Amazon every day and type in LinkedIn book, LinkedIn marketing tips. This pops up. They buy it for a dollar. They’ve spent then all this time getting to know, like and trust me. You connect that to a funnel which is you want more training, online bonus videos, opt-in to my email list, get more content, come for a free webinar.

Then even in real life, books are great. Think about the power of handing someone a business card versus handing them your book. I printed up with print on demand self-publishing. I printed up 400 copies of this Content Marketing Machine and 400 copies of LinkedIn Riches and I went to one of the biggest conferences in the world, Social Media Marketing World where I was speaking on LinkedIn. And I walked the concourse for three days handing out books.

Everyone was like, “What? You’re going to give me a free book?” It was like I was handing out gold, Meredith. Nobody does that, right? “A whole book? You don’t want to just give me a business card or a flier? Like, yeah, I’ll take a free book. Like I’ll read this on the plane.” What happens is people hang on to books. There’s authority. There’s credibility. You’re at a different level.

Especially as a culture consultant, you can be introduced as, “Oh, she literally wrote the book on LinkedIn. It’s called LinkedIn Riches,” or whatever. Or she literally wrote a book on leadership and she’s a leadership coach. Think of the power of that as opposed to just online content. Yes, books I’m fanatical about, obviously comes from my roots as a kid, son of two English teachers and all the reading. But there’s power in those audiobooks, print books that cannot be replicated. I’ve never found a better way to market my business than books.

That brings us to our wrap up which is how can people learn about you and get copies of your book?

Right, and I give away the books for free. That’s how good of a lead magnet they are. If you go to linkedinriches.com, you can get a free digital or audio book copy of LinkedIn Riches, linkedinriches.com. And then if you go to contentmarketingmachine.com, you can get a free digital copy of Content Marketing Made Easy.

And so, those are the places to learn about me, linkedinriches.com for all the LinkedIn stuff, the free book; contentmarketingmachine.com for that book and all those free tips. And I practice what I preach, Meredith. I just give away tons of content, tons of value.

I know you do.

Pumping the personality and then I let people come to me to say, “I love it. How do I work with you?” And it’s a great model because it’s authentic and it’s genuine. And it’s the best model too for coaches and consultants. There’s just nothing better than great content, a niched brand. It’s just much easier and seamless to really do well.

Well, you’re pre-selling your services, they are pre-selling their services by showing “I know my stuff”. And so, there’s no proof that you have to do. The sales process is so much easier because they have come to see you already as an authority.

Yeah, this is the big thing. My final big point is so many people online today claim authority. I’m a ninja. I’m a guru. I’m a leadership expert, much harder to demonstrate it. Demonstrate authority and you’re ahead of 99% of the pack online and demonstrate it through a book, a podcast, a blog, a video.

And people, like you said, Meredith, they’re pre-sold. They come in and go, “I read your book. It was amazing. How do I just give you money to work with you? Because I want what you’re teaching. I know it’s going to work. I love your stories,” and that’s the beautiful thing about this is you have that opportunity now without any gatekeepers in your way to publish your book, publish your video, publish your podcast.

For those of us that remember the 80s, Meredith, you couldn’t do that.


You need a TV channel. Like now, the world is our oyster, we just have to go out and do it.

That’s great. John, you have delivered, just as I knew you would, lots of great valuable information. People will probably want to watch this or listen to it more than once because there were so many how-to’s. And I highly recommend both of his books. Take advantage of what he is saying. It’s so true. John is a real giver when it comes to amazing content.

And so, if you want to do it yourself, you can learn the steps. He gives it all and so, I just highly recommend doing that. Thank you, John. It’s been such a pleasure having you.

Thank you.


009: Take Risks to Acquire Clients Who Pay What You’re Worth

009: Take Risks to Acquire Clients Who Pay What You’re Worth

Strong for Performance Podcast

009: Take Risks to Acquire Clients Who Pay What You’re Worth

by Marc Mawhinney

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.

You’ll discover:

  • 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

Watch the episode:


Connect with Marc

Get this free PDF.

Give it to the leaders you work with!

Read the Transcription

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.

I do.

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.

Thank you.

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.

Oh, yes.

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.