This is a guest post by Clark Gaither, MD. He is a board certified family physician in private practice in Goldsboro, NC. Dr. Gaither is an active member of the 48Days.net community and blogs regularly on doctor burnout. He is also completing the 48 Days Coaching Mastery Program to more effectively help doctors reignite with passion and purpose. If you’d like to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Everyone beginning a business in coaching has probably faced the following scenario. With great confidence you have delivered your very best presentation to a potential client. The client looks up expectantly and asks, “So, how much do you charge?” There it is, the question you have dreaded to hear.
This is when you feel your confidence level drop. Perhaps you sat back in your chair and glanced at the floor or up at the ceiling as you searched for the proper words to answer a very simple question.
You knew this moment was coming. Perhaps you even practiced your response a little in front of a mirror but the words still sounded awkward as they tumbled and stumbled out of your mouth. In the end, you were unable to close. You missed a sale and the opportunity to help someone.
Every coach should always answer the question “How much do you charge?” with the same robust confidence they display in their presentations because the benefits of doing so are key to a successful coaching business. Namely, avoiding missed opportunity.
If you are confident in your abilities to coach, then you should be just as confident in the value you provide and in your fees. There are some techniques that you can employ when discussing fees that will not only boost the confidence your client perceives in you as a coach. They will also help you to become more comfortable discussing your fees.
Over many years as a family physician I have had to deliver good news, bad news and thousands of treatment decisions to thousands of patients. Here are a couple of tips I have learned that have helped patients to have greater confidence in me and me in myself.
Try the following when a client asks you the inevitable question “how much?”.
Straighten up and lean forward slightly but not too quickly. It can be just a few degrees but you want to move slightly toward them. If you sit back in your chair or step back or to the side if standing, it will signal retreat to them and to yourself. Leaning in slightly will signal engagement.
Also, look them squarely in the eye and don’t blink. That is the most difficult thing to do but key to instill confidence in your client. I am sure you have practiced this in a mirror. If not, do so. Or, cut faces out of a magazine and use those for practice. Avoid breaking off direct eye contact and looking around. People who look down or up and to one side are signaling indecision or a lack of commitment.
If you are sitting and your hands are in your lap when they ask the question, place one hand and forearm on the table in front of you, palm down, as you lean in slightly. This signals you are ready to go to work. With a little practice this will appear fluid and completely natural. This will instill confidence in your prospective client and, more importantly, in yourself.
When you practice say out loud your fee is a million dollars per session, per hour or per package while doing all of the things I mentioned above. When it comes time to tell someone the actual amount it will feel like you are giving them a bargain at whatever your current rates may be.
Everyone has difficulty with this. I was talking with a keynote speaker just yesterday about the services she provides. You would recognize her name as she has become very successful. When I asked how much she charged for her mastermind group even she stumbled a bit. Just keep practicing.
When you are able to state your fees clearly and without hesitation using the proper body language the client will feel your confidence and so will you. Then, you will be able to ask for the sale easily with my favorite Dan Miller closer – “Which of these packages will work best for you?”