#281: Earn the Right to Sell – Building Trust and Winning Clients

earn the right to sell - Michelle Leotta smiling
They tell you to “put yourself out there,” right? They tell you to talk about your health coaching services. But if you still don’t have the clients you need your efforts may be backfiring. It’s time to consider a more nuanced approach! In this episode Michelle shares about earning the right to sell and what that looks like in a healthy, successful practice. Join our FREE Get More Clients Bootcamp this March at: HealthCoachPower.com/getmoreclients

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Earn the Right to Sell: Building Trust & Winning Clients

Have you ever found yourself ready to buy something, but bad vibes kept you from making the purchase? 

Maybe it was that vacation resort you were excited about – after all, the website and photos looked great and the booking process was easy. But upon arrival you noticed the broken elevator and the duct tape on the carpet. Suddenly, your wallet metaphorically closed, and you were no longer interested in spending another dime. 

Well, guess what? 

The same thing can happen with prospective clients when you’re trying to sell your health coaching services. 

Attract health coaching clients with the right energy

Picture this: you’re a health coach, eager to help others lead healthier lives. You’re doing all the right things – building a professional website, engaging on social media, maybe even hosting workshops. But despite your efforts, you’re struggling to attract clients. What gives?

Well, it might all come down to one key concept: earning the right to sell. 

Think about it like this – just as that resort needed to earn your trust before you were willing to book a vacation, you need to earn the trust of potential clients before they’ll consider working with you.

It starts with creating positive vibes right from the start.

Imagine meeting someone for the first time and instantly feeling drawn to them. That’s the kind of energy you want to cultivate as a health coach. You want potential clients to feel excited about the prospect of working with you, not turned off by your approach.

Show your value to build trust

It’s easy to come across as inauthentic or pushy when you reach out to let your audience know about your health coaching services. Friends and family might even be skeptical of your new role of “health coach.”

Remember that trust is built over time and it’s far more effective to SHOW your value than to explain it.

One effective strategy is to host workshops or events where you can meet people face-to-face. I did a ton of these in the early years of my health coaching practice! You can get friendly with attendees and if they leave with even one a-ha moment – boom! You’ve built trust and credibility.

But don’t stop there – keep the momentum going by staying in touch with your audience through regular communication. Whether it’s through email newsletters, social media updates, or blog posts, make sure you’re consistently providing value.

And when the time is right, don’t be afraid to make an offer. But it’s all about giving – and proving yourself – before you ask.

By following these steps, you can earn the right to sell and win over potential clients with ease. Just like that Pilates instructor or yoga teacher you can’t stop raving about, you too can become a trusted source of support and guidance.

Show up professionally, consistently, and with huge value. Remember, it’s not about desperate energy or quick fixes – it’s about building lasting relationships and making a real difference in people’s lives. 


Full transcript:

Well, hello there, health coaches. After a week of mid-winter break with my boys, I am sliding back into the swing of things over here. I don't know, maybe you were off too. Today we are back with the bang and we're going to be talking about finding clients. I am very, very excited to not only bring this episode to you, but to tell you about a brand new free training that I am hosting this March. Have you already heard? We just announced it yesterday. It's called Get More Clients because that is exactly what you have all told me, that you need time and time again, and I'm going to help you out in a very big way to create a customized, customized plan for your marketing. That's right, a custom plan, because you are different from the health coach next to you. You are different from me.

We all have unique businesses, right? It's going to be a custom plan that you can implement Step-by-Step to get more clients, and it's all free. You can go to health coach power.com/get more clients to sign up. This is going to be my biggest and most powerful training of the year based on many, many, many years as a practicing health coach. So please do not miss this. Again, you can register for free at healthcoachpower.com/getmoreclients. And speaking of finding clients, so let me tell you, I took my kids to a resort last week and it was one of these places where everything's included. I mean, even a lift ticket was included for skiing and there were so many different activities that we could do. It sounded phenomenal and it was good. We had a lot of fun together. But let me tell you something. Upon arrival, the woman at the check-in desk, she looked like she would rather be anywhere else than working there.
She was not happy. One of the elevators going to the rooms was out of order. The lock on the door of the room, it was like barely screwed in. It felt like it was going to fall right off. Now listen, it's a place for families and lots of kids, and actually it's great to feel like your kids are not going to break everything. You don't really have to worry, but come on. I even saw duct tape holding together the carpet in a couple places in the hallway. If you've ever gone to an all-inclusive place like this, there's always going to be upsells, right? Have you ever done anything like this? You pay, all your meals are included and lots of certain things are included, whatever. But then it's like book a massage, get a facial, get the fancy steak, buy this extra thing. A lot of stuff's included, but then there's these opportunities to buy more. Of course, that's business. It's fine. I was totally open to it.

I was thinking, you know what? The kids will hit the game room and I'm going to get myself a massage. Sounds great. But after I saw the poor attitude of the people working there, the rundown nature of the building, I didn't want to book that massage, would you? I didn't want to get the fancy steak. I just assumed it wouldn't be very good because overall my impression was not very good. Now I realize this is different from health coaching. I'm coming back to it. Don't worry. I know we're here to talk about your health coaching business, but if you're making offers, if you're putting yourself out there, if you feel like you're doing all the right things today, I want to consider how sometimes pushing for clients can actually backfire, and I want to introduce this concept. You might want to write this down.

It's the concept of earning the right to sell. I will explain with my vacation example, this resort earned the right to sell to me, meaning I was energetically open to booking a vacation with them because let's say they had a professional looking website and booking process, and that's very important for a hotel or a resort. They had listed all the amenities and activities I was looking for. There were pictures that gave me an idea what to expect. They had good reviews, and when I called, they were helpful over the phone, all good vibes. So I was ready to spend with them. But then when I got there and I saw the broken lock on the door and the duct tape on the carpet, subconsciously I became a non-buyer, and this happens. I was not going to buy anything else. This place had to offer no massage, no steak, and it was subconscious.

I didn't decide. I don't remember at any point being like, I'll never spend money here again. But in retrospect, that's right around where my mindset shifted and my wallet closed. Now, the interesting thing is that this can happen between you and prospective clients without you even knowing. Maybe even without them knowing, right? Because it's a little bit subconscious. I mean, certainly if a client had a bad experience like I did, they might not want to hire you again. But I think that this energetic opening or closing of the wallet happens much, much earlier. Potential clients get a vibe from you that creates a, yes, I want more kind of feeling, or maybe it's a no. Please leave me alone kind of feeling, and this is what you want to be aware of. So let's talk about earning the right to sell so that clients are energetically open to you right from the start, and we'll talk about some of the missteps that health coaches make that actually close off that good energy.

You want to make sure you're not doing that even inadvertently. Okay, are you ready? If you're here with me live, and I know some of you are, tell us in the comments about a time that you were like Uhuh close down to the idea of hiring someone. Could be anything, something around the house, a vacation, any kind of practitioner you were energetically shut down to them. I think we have all had this kind of experience at one point in time. Again, it can be really helpful to think about other industries and then reflect back on how it makes sense inside of our health coaching world. I was thinking one time I decided not to hire a window installer for my home. He only wanted to talk to me about colors because, and I quote, that's what women are interested in. No thanks. I was actually offended by that. I did not care how good his windows were or what his price was. I was like, never buying from you.

Oh, Kathy says a house painter. I don't know what it was about the house painter. It could be something they said, something about how they looked, something about how they looked at you. It could be so many things and you just shut it off. You're just like not happening. It could be a subtle thing that helps you make up your mind before you've even seen the price. How about an example that's a little bit closer to health coaching? I want to talk about MLM companies. I know half of you just got an uproar. I'm about to say something bad about MLMs. I'm not, not saying all MLMs are bad, but we have, I'm sure, experienced in some way, shape or form the type of pushy sales that sometimes come from MLMs and it can feel rather icky. Yes. Do you know what I'm talking about?

It's like the message from someone that you haven't spoken to in ages and it's way too bubbly over Facebook Messenger. It's like, Hey, sister, I've got something for you. No, you don't. What? It feels so weird and you're like, no, thank you energetically. Most people close off at that point because it doesn't feel authentic. It's fishy, right? Why is this person reaching out to me? Why are they acting like we're best friends when we haven't spoken in 30 years? So there's a hidden agenda here. Even again, just subconsciously you can get that feeling that this person, they're trying to sell me something. There is an agenda and they're not being transparent about it. So if you've been reaching out as a health coach and you haven't necessarily offended anyone, but it simply comes across as inauthentic, if they can tell you have a hidden agenda, you might be pushing potential clients away right from the gate, very common misstep in the industry.

Here's another, let's say, and this is not your fault, but let's say so many health coaches. You've made a career change. Anybody? I did, I did myself. About 15 years ago, I went from being an art director at big ad agencies to now telling people I was a health coach. It was a weird transition. I was respected as an art director because I had worked my way up since college. I had done a lot of good work at the agencies, but no one in my life, no one, not even myself, knew me as a health coach or a health expert of any kind. So initially it was like nobody on earth had any reason to believe that I knew anything about health or wellness. I'm sure you felt this way, right? Most health coaches are up against this because it's not like we went to college for health coaching and then we got an internship and we worked our way up since we were 20 something years old.

When people are like, what are you doing now, Michelle? You're health coach? What's that? It was like I could practically see their wallets energetically closing or half closing. I needed to earn the right to be respected as a health coach, just like through the years I'd earned the respect of an art director. Now imagine that I had gone from art director to selling real estate and then a year later I started a home cleaning business and then I don't know, I sold Tupperware or something and then I became a health coach even worse, because now in addition to not having any street cred as a health expert, anyone in my life's going to be like, what's up with Michelle? Why does she keep bouncing around? And the trust fades and the wallets all kind of silently close. So listen, inside our Get More Clients training this March, we're going to cover more about your image and how to get visible so that you can build credibility. So if you want to attract more clients and energetically open up their wallets and willingness to work with you, because that's really what we're talking about, remember to sign up at healthcoachpower.com/getmoreclients for today. I want to share some positive examples of what
earning the right to sell looks like in practice.

I've given you some examples of what it does not look like, how we can turn people off right from the get go. So what is the opposite of that? If you're here live, tell me in the comments. So this is the opposite of what I asked you earlier. Have you ever been drawn to someone? Again, there's this energetic yes, where you are basically ready to buy from them right away. You got your credit card half out of your wallet before they even told you how much it costs. You're just sold. You are in whatever they're selling, you're buying. When have you had that experience? I know it's tough because we all start brand new as health coaches. We are all up that initial wait, you're a health coach since when? What does that mean? There can almost be this suspicious energy that we have to overcome that is not necessarily there in other fields, but we have to keep in mind that actually there are a lot of health coaches out there who are working for MLMs who are selling a product like I talked about earlier.

So yes, perhaps there is this added layer of suspicion. The field of health coaching is a bit undefined. People don't really know what it is, and they have different ideas about what they might be getting into by having a conversation with you. So we are almost like interns. Think of yourself. Did you ever intern anywhere? I was an intern at the Boston Globe. It was one of my first jobs. And in people's minds, that's the level that we're at. Even if you're 55 years old and you have a lot of respect in other areas of your life, but you're brand new to health coaching, think of yourself as an intern. So people are often willing to give us a chance, but they also have their doubts. They're like, let's see what she can do. And what you want to do is show them your value.

You want to make it so freaking obvious that you can do it. You can give what they're looking for and so much more. You have so much value that they start to move towards you. They start to listen to your message and ask for more. They are open, they are willing, right? You are proving yourself because they're going to give you that little chance, just like that first internship, and you better be there on time and you better do a good job and have a good attitude. And that is how I eventually got a position working at the Boston Globe because I did a good job with my internship. Oh my gosh, you guys, you should have seen the stuff they had me doing as an intern. Lots of exacto blades. I was cutting up newspapers and submitting them for the awards. It was manual labor and a lot of spray mount was involved, but I did a good job, and this is where you're at when you're starting your health coaching business and when you're meeting people and they're like, what do you do?

You have to show them. You got to prove yourself to them. Can you imagine if the resort that I went to last week had employees that made us smile, just made the stay a delight. If the room was in perfect working order and had a few surprises waiting for us, or if the carpet didn't have duct tape, I would've been impressed. I would've been booking that massage, right? I would've said, yep, they have earned the right to upsell me at this point. So let's impress, before we even think of asking anyone to buy anything from us, that is the definition of earning the right to sell. So Ellen said, Ellen said she felt this way when she joined Healthy Profit University last fall, and she also said her Pilates trainer is someone that she would put in her will. I bet we all have a practitioner like that.

I mean, we're health coaches. I have a body worker, I got a therapist, I got you. Have a yoga teacher that you love. These are people that if they're offering it, you're signing up, right? You love them so much. It wasn't like that on day one. You didn't just meet them for the first time. You didn't just see their name printed somewhere and go, yeah, I'm going to drop a lot of money on Pilates. I bet, Ellen, I bet the first time you worked with this person though, you got a vibe. You wanted more. You wanted to come back, and so you're willing probably over time to spend more and invest not only your money, but also your time with that practitioner. They earned the right to sell to you. So in practice, in our health coaching businesses, it can look like this. First, let's say you hold a free, it doesn't have to be free.

It could be a low cost workshop locally with another trusted establishment. The yoga studio, the gym health coaches do this all the time. It's not difficult. You meet people when you do stuff like this and they trust you inherently because they already trust the yoga studio because they already like this gym. They're already a member. So there's this built in trust that you can borrow and they inherently trust you because you are now there. So you meet people, you're face to face with them, very helpful. You're friendly, you share about a topic that they really need help with, and they walk away with even just one aha moment. That is a huge step. You just earned their trust and you earned the right to sell to them, perhaps down the line, maybe even right away. Okay? Next, you keep all of those workshop participants on your mailing list.

How many of you have an active mailing list that you are communicating with regularly? Just say yes in the comments. If you have that mailing list, say no. If you don't, if need a mailing list, so important. If you held that workshop, that was a one-time thing, but now all those people can be on your list. You're actually communicating with them not once, not twice, randomly, over six, 12 months, but on a regular basis, you become part of their life, part of their sphere, right? There's certain people that we follow, certain things that we read every day. You become part of that and you're not pushing your coaching package down their throat, not at all. You're sending recipes. You're sending insights to help with their big health issue. You inspire them over and over and over. You make them laugh. You make them feel comfortable, right?

You have that. Give me more energy. They want more from you and you invite them to another event. Perhaps you have a low priced program and you invite them to that, something where they can dip their toe into working with you, and even if they don't, they see that you're running it. They see that other people are doing, you're talking about it and they are just witnessing that. These are all steps that you can take to again, earn trust, earning the right to sell, having these people actually come to you. Can you imagine it happens and proactively ask before you even had a chance to mention it, Hey, do you take private clients? That's where you want to be. They trust you so much. They're asking you to become a client. Now, does it have to start with a workshop? Of course not. But this is just an example of one way that you can engage a warm audience and you can keep them looking to you for advice, for inspiration, for leadership, for support, and that way when you make an offer, because you will, they are so ready to say yes, and they tell all their friends about you because they have found this hidden gem and it's you.
It's probably the way that Ellen tells everybody about her Pilates instructor, or I have a yoga teacher who I am very, very, very loyal to, and I am always telling people about him, and I will share his stuff on Instagram and I will tag him, and I will tell you right now, his name is David Vendetti, and you should look him up, right? Because he is a gem. He has earned the right. This man could literally offer anything. I've been a client of his for 18 years. He's earned it, and you can do that too.

We all have to earn respect. We have to earn our place by showing up professionally, consistently with huge value, not with desperate energy. Oh my God, I need a client. Please be my client. Oh, I'm kind of annoyed because everybody wants everything for free and I'm never making any money. That's the wrong energy. That's not going to get you anywhere. You show up professionally consistently, and you give before you ask, and hopefully no duct tape on the carpet, right? I'm going to show you how to do this. I'm going to walk you through it. Step-by-step inside our free Get More Clients bootcamp this March. So I want you to remember to sign up for that. It's at health coach power.com/get more clients. And if you are really, really interested in having my hands-on support for your business this year, our live Fast track semester, I want to let you know it's happening this spring, and you can add your name to the wait list as these spots go fast. The wait list gets best pricing and bonuses, so you want to be on there at healthcoachpower.com/waitlist. That's all for today, you guys. I'm so glad to be back from that sort of good sort of crummy vacation, whatever. It was great. I was with my boys, but I'm happy to be back here with you and I'll see you next week. Take care, everybody.