Years ago, I threw away about $250,000. Give or take.
This was back in my songwriter days. When I wasn’t on tour, I hosted these cool little retreats and workshops throughout the year because people kept asking me how to live their dreams and build their businesses.
So, I’d do the retreat. I’d teach the workshop.
Then, I’d go back to my life. And the people who’d just spent a day or more with me were thrown out into the world to figure the rest of it out on their own.
Which means I left many (many!) thousands of dollars on the table. Not just one time. Over and over again. For years.
I know this because when I finally did get smart and offer a program, 11 of the 24 participants signed up to become clients.
Fast forward to now. I run a popular coaching company that I built from scratch. And yes, you could say that it all started with that one workshop.
Let me repeat: One single workshop helped me create a successful business.
If you’re a coach or consultant, there are three rules to consider when it comes to getting clients.
Rule #1: Prospects sign up faster when they experience you in person.
Everyone’s hypnotized these days. It’s a trance that tells them if they put up enough content and do enough Facebook ads — clients will magically hand them money.
I’ve helped thousands of people start and build successful businesses. (Plus I’ve built two of my own from ground zero.) So yes, you can and should build an online presence.
But you don’t have to. (Many of my six-figure clients don’t.)
That’s because the fastest path to getting new clients is in-person. People buy from people they know, like and trust. On the internet – in these sleazy, slimy times – that takes lots of time.
The fastest way for your peeps to get a sense of you is to meet you, learn from you and hear you and your message by seeing you in action.
Rule #2: Your prospects mostly don’t even know they need you.
Your ideal client does not even know he’s struggling needlessly, and making lots of clueless mistakes. He doesn’t even know he needs you. Not yet. This is why when someone gets to hear you, speak with you or experience you, there are more chances for aha moments, more chances to educate and share mistakes and possibilities. This is why it is said that people buy what’s in front of them.
Rule # 3: Your ideal client doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you get one more certification or degree.
Let’s backtrack to that first time I offered a program to my workshop participants.
Did a single one of them ask me whether or not I was certified? No.
Did anyone want to see my diplomas or advanced degrees? Nope.
So what makes people want to be your client?
Well, that’s what I want to talk with you about.
When someone experiences you live, they don’t experience your diploma. They experience you, your passion, your messages, your wisdom and [Woo Alert!] your energy.
In a service business, the fastest path to cash is private clients.
And the fastest path to private clients is off-line, in person. (Not a blog post or an opt-in page.)
And no, it’s not about going to more networking events. Or keeping a stack of business cards in your purse every time you leave the house.
It’s more elegant than that.
Offer Seminars or Workshops to Generate More Leads
This is a strategy that has worked for countless numbers of my Uplevel Academy clients. Offer an in-person workshop to generate leads for your coaching business.
When you lead a workshop, you break through the online noise and don’t have to work so hard to get the ever-elusive “click-thru.”
When you lead a workshop, you get to educate people on the common mistakes, foibles, and frustrations. They feel understood. And most importantly – you get to position the results and outcomes.
When you lead a workshop, you establish trust automatically and strategically.
So how do you do it? Here are 4 Steps…
1 – PLAN YOUR WORKSHOP
- Nail down the details. Name your workshop. Who is your ideal participant? How many people do you want in the room? (HINT: Smaller is better at first!) What is the start time/end time? What is the price? Where are you going to host the workshop? Get all of this down on paper before you do anything else.
- Find a free (or low cost) space in your town. Google google google. Every city or town has event spaces that are either very cheap or free. Research to find the best location for your workshop depending on how many people you want in the room.
- Book the date. Duh, right? Amazingly, this is the hardest step for most people. That’s because once there’s a date, shit gets real pretty quick. So this is your most important step.
- Set up a payment system. Take some time to do the tedious work of setting up a payment system. Never never never let people “pay you when they get there.” This will just set you up for disappointing no-shows. PayPal works best if you don’t have your own merchant account yet.
2 – MARKET YOUR WORKSHOP
- Make (or Consolidate) your list. If you don’t have a list yet, gather the names and emails of every single person you know and create your list. If you have many lists of many random people, consolidate them into one list. Anyone who might be interested in hearing about the workshop you’re going to offer. Consolidate that list. If needed, get a free Mail Chimp account.
- Pre-write 3 – 5 emails. Write a series of three emails with information about the workshop as well as a link for how to ask for more information and sign up. Write these in advance. Otherwise you will question yourself and wonder whether or not you were sending out too many emails.
- Schedule the sequence. Before you send a single email, get out your calendar and set up the email sequence schedule. I recommend 3 to 5 emails over a period of 7 – 10 days to let people know about your workshop. As people sign up, remove them from the list of people receiving these emails.
- Pre-Write a promotional page. I call this your Flash-Sheet. This will be the PDF you send to people with all the information about the workshop including the features, content, and results they could expect. Be enthusiastic in your writing of this so that it compels people to want to be there. This is hard, and it will take more time than you think.
3 – LEAD YOUR WORKSHOP
- Create a curriculum for the day. I create structure of each and every module, break and end time for every event I lead. I make notes for the content, tools and activities contained in those time blocks.
- Create worksheets. Make sure there are activities that engage people in your workshop. (This makes it easier on you so that you’re not yammering on for hours and hours.) Come up with worksheets and activities for your day. (Optional: Have a graphic designer pretty them up.)
- Review content for “seeding” and positioning. If you are a coach or consultant, this is where you must look beyond content and into “story telling.” Look deeply at your content to determine where you can position your results through client stories, or where you can “seed” what you offer. Do this in advance so that you are prepared, and not counting on your “in the moment” memory. This anchors prospect to the results and the possibilities.
4 – MAKE THE SALE
Depending on your Teaching Style (this is a self-audit we give here at Uplevel. It helps you to discover and optimize your natural presence, not forcing yourself into a phony idea of what a teacher should be) – you can practice a small pitch for the end of your workshop. Or you can make a more elaborate pitch with a sign-up form.
But here’s the good news if you don’t like selling:
Most of my clients who have gotten clients from workshops have simply seeded their message and shared success stories, opting for no sales pitch at all. (I recommend this to anyone who is new to workshops!) And guess what? They’ve gotten clients. The power of stories and the power of being in-person with your prospects is enough to make people approach them after the workshop and say things like, “I think I need to work with you. Can you tell me how?”
And you go from there.
A few extra resources:
1 – Here’s a post about how to host your own retreats. One of my most popular.
3 – If you’re on my list, keep an eye on your inbox next week. I’m hosting a webinar soon. In it, I’ll teach you very specifically how to host a workshop that’s geared for getting life-coaching or executive coaching clients.