Under Promise Over Deliver Misleads Coaches

Under Promise, Over Deliver misleads coaches into making smaller offers to their clients than they should be making. The result: getting a lot fewer clients than they should be getting. What to do about it? That statement tends to be used by those who may have never delivered bigger results, and, maybe can’t. But it is the advice they give to the up and coming coaches and consultants.

Underpromising tends to keep coaches shooting too low. Be honest, but challenge your clients to reach big and your coaching sales will become bigger, lots bigger!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe in 100% honesty, and no hype. So this isn’t about choosing to hype or not. I still believe in not promising only what you can actually deliver.

I also believe that a coach is there to help their clients achieve things they couldn’t achieve without the coach/consultant, and if the coach is hesitant to reach then either he’s not doing right by his client, or he’ll be missing out on a lot of clients who want bigger and bigger results.

Challenge your clients, and challenge yourself….REACH!

For every coach/consultant I have ever worked with I have challenged them to reach further than they originally felt comfortable reaching for. The further they reached, the further they went for themselves and for their clients. And the easier it was to get clients when you could say how far your clients have gone. That’s what sells!

For 12 years of being a coach I have measured what’s possible, reached further and further and further, and discovered a lot of those so-called big reaches weren’t that big or that difficult at all. I’ve also discovered that those who have never achieved those big results are the ones telling me that’s hype, it can’t be done, while I’ve been doing it.

Looking at marketing as just one example. The typical marketing messages coaches use, “I am a coach” typically gets about 1 tire kicker for ever 1,000 people that hear the message (I’ve measured that on 100’s of coaching websites, so this is real. In fact, mine was getting about that when I started out.) And just by doing a simple change to the marketing message that I teach to my clients getting 1 out of 10 can be easily reached, at least when given to the right target market.  That’s 100 times more clients, and more dollars than you’d get from most coaches say. Now, again, don’t get me wrong, your marketing message may be different and getting better than 1 out of 1,000, but I’ll still show you how to get more, lots more.

And, in fact, that’s only the first step of marketing, if you could get 100 times more by changing a marketing message, then you show that to 1,000 instead of the 5 you usually show it to, won’t that result in 200 times more, and now we have 200 times 100 = 20,000 times more. It really is that easy.

And there are lots of those opportunities throughout life coaching and business coaching.

In any case, by using “How to Get 10 to 100 times more business” as one of my marketing messages I’ll get that 10% of all of those I reach out to, at least that many people who want to explore further with me. Been there, done that over and over. Now should I promise less?

Coaches Sell Potential

And one more thing, coaches sell potential, which is not always a reality for various clients. Should I promise less because the worst client I’ve ever had couldn’t get what I know how to get? Should I underpromise for every other client?

Create a Clear Definition of What You Sell . . . Box in the Results

Here’s another exercise I use with my clients.

  • Average Result –I ask them to define what’s the average result they get with their average or typical client. Some really struggle if they have never been forced to name what they actually deliver and the value but this is one of the most valuable lessons you will ever learn.
  • Lowest Result–Then I ask them to define what’s the lowest they’ve ever gotten, but then ask for a clarification. What is the lowest you’ve ever gotten when that client actually followed through and did everything you asked? Most failures are the client not following through, so by defining the minimum result that they get when they actually do it, sort of changes who’s responsible for the failure, and you take responsible for the real bottom successes.
  • Biggest Result Ever–If you’ve coached for every long you have some really stand out results. So let’s grab this to use as a big carrot for future clients.

You might have one of these boxes of clear results for each of your target markets. When I started doing this I did have one for each target market because I THOUGHT they were each in different markets with different thinking and would get different results. No so. I can say that a $100K business or $100K life coaching client might be looking for only $10K to $100K more while a $1M client might be looking at $100K to several million more. But the bottom line is that they both are looking for about the same percentage so figure what those percentages are, and then covert them into dollars when talking to that target market.

Now we have a clear picture of what we actually can sell to a client.  We can sell the average as, “My typical client gets …..” and name the specific result and value, how much, how big, how good, and how fast. In any case, this we can clearly sell by indicating what we’ve typically delivered. This is not hype, this is our real result. I typically talk about my average client getting 5 to 10 times his starting point, and what’s interesting is that 5 years ago that was only 2 times.  When you start holding these numbers out there you not only become responsible to deliver them, but you get better all the time at delivering them.

We can also define that minimum result that we’ve EVER gotten, as long as . . . define the criteria that separates . . . in other words “the worst any client of mine has gotten, at least when he follows through with what we talked about was at least a growth of at least 1/2 more than he is now”.

And for the largest you’ve ever delivered, I want you to think about this: A coach sells potential. If you’ve ever delivered this big number, isn’t this a potential for your next client? Now you know what caused that result, and you could do it again, right?

By drawing a box around your previous deliverables, average — typical, minimum your client might expect, and the biggest result he might be able to expect, we can define the potential for this next client. We have a very clear picture of what he’s buying.

The words you use are critical. 

  • What you’ve delivered before — by mentioning what you’ve delivered before, you are hanging a carrot out for your prospect to decide if he wants that. You are not promising he’ll get that. You are just being honest and clear about what others have gotten. In fact, testimonials, or even your assurance that this is what others have gotten is one thing your prospects wants to know, and may be looking for a similar result.
  • Making a Promise — What do you feel comfortable promising? Obviously the minimum you should feel very comfortable with, or even guaranteeing. You might actually feel comfortable saying something like, “I’ll help you work toward that average result” obviously putting that number right on the table. And because half or more of your clients, the average, have gotten this you can feel fairly comfortable with this, but you might not guarantee it. But I’m comfortable talking about doing a plan, helping him toward that number, and will do it every day over and over because of how I worded that. Plus you will discover that even if your customer misses this target, he should have made some serious steps forward that he will still be very excited to have, and if you are just short, well, it’s likely since he made that serious progress, that he’ll quickly hire you to take him further.
  • Hanging a BIG Carrot Out There — Looking at that biggest number you’ve ever achieved, you’ll discover that most of your clients don’t figure they are average in any way. So if you do lay out the average number, and your highest number, but only tell him you are shooting for the average result, in the back of your client’s head he’ll be saying “I’m not average. I’ll bet I can reach toward that big number myself, or at least I’ll end up somewhere way above average toward that big number.” I find that just by showing him what some clients have gotten, the really big numbers, that’s a huge target for them, and because in their heads they are shooting for that bigger number, most of my “averages” keep moving up and up all of the time. And, if you really want to take on those clients with really big dreams, you can actually offer to help them go for the big one, but making no promises, but you have the tools better than anyone to help him in his drive for that really big number. So REACH coach!!!! And help your clients reach.

I challenge you to go through that exercise, of defining your average result, your minimum (with stipulations), and your maximum. That’s a good exercise for you to realize what you actually sell. But it will then define to your clients what you sell.

Whether you use that new definition to hang out a carrot for your prospect that’s the whole box, or one of the pieces, you’ll have a better definition, and a goal for you and for your clients to shoot for, as well as a marketing message to attract customers.

By the way, I’m looking for coaches to share what they are doing to attract clients, and how well that works. In exchange I’ll share the things that have gotten 10 to 100 times more clients for me and other coaches I’ve worked with.

For the last 12 years, I’ve been on a mission of finding the best way to acquire coaching clients, and every time I found someone better than me, I’ve hired him until I could be as good as he is. I’ve stair stepped through some of the biggest marketing coaches out there and feel that I can stand with some of the big boys. I’ll share that with you for sharing what you have been doing.

I’m building a database that will be available to you that has all of the great ways to acquire coaching clients, and some to avoid, and some that didn’t work we’ll show you how to tweak up many many times more effectively.

Just for sharing with me you’ll have access to that info that I’ll be selling to the rest of the world. This will be a very valuable resource.

And I’ll compare the before and after for some of you in my upcoming book.

Email me at alanboyer@get-coaching-clients.com to let me know you want to participate.

Alan Boyer

Helping coach/consultants reach another $100K to $1M within months and to stop thinking small when attracting new clients

Author of the upcoming book “Secrets to $100K+ Coaching/Consulting Business: Getting Clients Easier, Faster”


Get coaching clients, don’t underpromise, help your clients reach and your sales will increase in proportion to how far you challenge the client to reach.


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