Skin in the game

As a principle, I choose not to work with clients who have a passive approach to engagements. You know the kind, the drifters who want to get a “taste” of how it’s like to be coached or consulted by an expert. And I will be the first in line to say that most of the time, I fail to recognize the patterns until it’s a little too late.

Thankfully, when I get a whiff of passivity, I stop and take action. That could mean calling out the BS or questioning the intentions. Why? My time’s too precious to be wasted away with someone who doesn’t want to be helped or lacks the desire to improve.

Won’t I lose money if I turn away business like that? Maybe I will. Perhaps I won’t. A lot depends on how I frame my contracts, but that’s beside the point. The main thing is to ensure that as a professional, you stay true to your work and go the extra mile to weed out distractions, even if that means firing your clients.

That’s precisely why I’ve begun to charge people for the initial consult as well. It’s a fraction of what I usually charge for coaching or consulting sessions, but the idea is to weed out the time-wasters from those who genuinely are in pain and are seeking help. And believe me, this move has been one of the biggest game-changers for me this year. I’m only getting on calls with 10% of the total inquiries I get in a month. That’s massive!

Think about it — I get an average of 40-50 inquiries a month, and if I were to hop on a call with each of these prospects, I’m looking at investing 50 hours of my time! Considering the 5% conversion rate (which is a healthy number), I’m supporting a helluva time with these time-wasters when I could be serving my clients.

I did the same with my public workshops; I’m no longer offering free ones. That’s history. I choose to charge $27 per seat for my previous Leadership Masterclass workshop. Only three people signed up, which is better than the last instance where 90 people had signed up, of which only one showed up! Sure, the numbers aren’t worth bragging but understand that I’m a solopreneur, and for me, every client counts.

I suggest challenging your potential clients to get their skins in the game. This could be by investing money or making them do some pre-work before your free consulting or coaching call (if you choose to stick with this route). The objective is to weed out the uncoachable clients because they will only end up wasting your time, even if they decide to invest with you.

The other alternative for these time-wasters is to find someone willing to offer them free consulting or coaching sessions. There’s no need to get insecure about this because they won’t use any of the advice or insights they gain during the session.

Do you know why? They’re not invested enough to care about the outcome. But you are. So, choose your clients wisely.

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