#48: Why Clients Don’t Sign Up

How many times have you spoken with a potential client but it went…nowhere? In this episode, Michelle talks about:

– Why clients don’t sign up for health coaching
– What you should be selling instead
– Why it’s not about the price
…and much more!

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Hello, health coaches! How are you doing? We are here today to talk about very, very important topic. I’ve been thinking about it for days, so I’m thrilled that we can actually get down to business. So here’s the scenario you are speaking with a potential client. Seems like they might be interested. Seems like you can help them and then you talk about your health coaching package or program and the price and it’s like crickets. They’re like, oh hmm, I’m going to have to think about it or like, oh, I got to ask my husband or whatever. They disappear. It happens. It happens to all of us, but today we’re going to talk about why clients do not sign up for health coaching and what you should be selling instead. My name is Michelle Pfennighaus. I am a certified health coach. I have my own private practice as well as acting as a mentor for my fellow health coaches.

That’s you and I appear in the curriculum at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. You may have seen me there. Okay. If you’re here and you’re watching live and you have a question for me today, go ahead and put that in the comments right now. I will be able to see them and I’ll get to you in just a few minutes.

Today’s big topic was inspired by Em who asked inside of our Facebook group. She said, does it make sense to sell shorter programs for a cheaper price? I’m thinking to do things to reach more people now, but I have doubts about doing shorter programs.

Well Em, I got to tell you that generally I find the health coaches always really want to sell these smaller, shorter, less expensive programs because it’s less scary. Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to ask for like $99 and to ask for $2,999. Right?

So it feels it feels safe. It feels good. And also whenever a prospective client that we may be speaking with tells us that they can’t afford our package. Oh, that’s too much money. Oh, that’s more than I was expecting. Whatever they, um, they’re not sure about signing up for our coaching. Our first thought is, oh, I need to make this cheaper, right? Like it, it’s logical. Like I know how we arrive at that conclusion and you know what I wanted to say, but it’s a bad idea. It’s not entirely a bad idea. It’s kind of an awesome business idea and it’s such a good business idea that in the past like five, six, seven years, things like whole 30 things like beach bodies, 21 day fix have sort of swooped in and scooped up that entire market. You know, anyone who sort of wants to clean up their diet now has a very inexpensive way to do so and it is readily available.

So good job to beach body and Whole 30 because there is a need in the market and they met it in a very big way. If someone is coming to you however, to talk about private coaching and they see the price tag and then they disappear. You do not have a pricing problem. You have a positioning problem. Okay, here’s what I mean. Let’s, let’s do some pretending. Let’s pretend I’m 35 years old. I’m going to shave off a couple of years just because we’re just pretending. Let’s pretend I’m 35 years old and I would like to lose five or 10 pounds and maybe I’m feeling kind of tired. Do I have a problem? Yeah, I got. I got a problem, but do I have a big problem? No. Right. Five pounds. It’s not a big problem. That’s a little problem. Unless… Really I can’t think of a situation where five pounds is a big problem.

So let’s say I got a pretty small problem. So if that’s the case, what am I going to spend to solve my problem? Like am I going to hire a coach for $2,000 to help me lose five or 10 pounds and feel a little bit more energetic? Probably not. Nope. I’m going to sign up for Whole 30 next time that my friend is doing it, you know, I’m going to do that. At least I’m going to do that first and see what it gets me and that makes sense. I can’t really fault people for thinking that way. So I think this is where we’re getting stuck. Okay, now let’s shift and let’s say that I do have a big problem. I’m 35 years old, and I need to lose 60 pounds because I’ve been struggling with infertility for the past five years. My fertility window is closing and the IVF treatments are not working.

Now, do I think Whole 30 or Beach Body or anything like that is going to help me? Probably not. Maybe I’ve even done those before, but now I hook up with a health coach who offers me six months of health coaching for $2,000. Okay. What will we cover? That’s going to be the first question that I ask and I’m told, well, it’s different for everyone because everyone is unique. I’m like, okay, and then I asked, are you a nutritionist? And I’m told, no, this person’s not a nutritionist. And then I’m like, I’m just kind of starting to worry about the credentials here and I’m not sure that I want to spend a couple thousand dollars on this. Yikes. How many times have you been in a situation like that where you’re like, oh yeah, it’s unique for every person and no, I’m not a nutritionist, but I am a certified health coach and you could just see that they’re like already just turning off their mind to the whole idea of working with you because if I’m in that position I’m thinking, is this person going to help me solve my big problem?

And the answer is kind of a resounding maybe just to maybe, but I’m not sure as a consumer, so I’m not going to sign up. You with me so far? Okay, so now let’s pretend again. I’m 35 years old. I need to lose 60 pounds. I’ve been struggling with infertility and I come across a 90 day fabulous fertility program and it covers nutrition specifically for fertility, ovulation tracking strategies, scrips for asking my doctor all the tough questions and I can see all of these success stories from women exactly like me. Now this program also costs $2,000, but man, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. This is like my last hope, so I don’t think twice about spending the money. Now, that right there is the power of a signature program, it solves a big problem for a very specific type of person. I want you to notice too that in that last scenario, it was only 90 days long.

The previous scenario was a whole six months for the same price. So I’m willing to spend the same amount of money for half of the coaching or half the period of time. Right? I don’t care how long it is, I just want my result and I also want you to notice that in that second scenario, I didn’t think twice about who was running the program, their credentials. Can I see your diploma? What exactly does that mean? You know, I wasn’t even thinking about that. I just saw myself in the success stories and they knew it was for me. That’s what we want. That is the kind of reaction that you want someone to have because they’re just going to say, Yup, and they’re going to hand you a check. So if you’ve been having a hard time getting people to pay for health coaching, what I want to say to you is that number one, either they’re problem is not big enough, very common, very common, that’s the case, or they do have a really big problem, but you do not have a signature program that addresses that specific problem.

So if this is making sense, I want to invite you guys to join me for a free create your signature program in just five days challenge. It’s a five day event I’ve created to help you sign more clients more easily and make a bigger impact. And you can sign up for free right now at findyourbalancehealth.com/signature. And we’re going to get started on February third. I can’t wait. Let me tell you that URL again in case you missed it. It’s findyourbalancehealth.com/signature. I can’t tell you the difference that it’s made for me. The reason I really wanted to bring you guys this information as well. First of all, I had asked months ago, what do you guys want to learn about? And that so many responses saying, I want to learn more about creating a signature program. I heard you loud and clear, but also in my own practice when I developed my own signature health coaching program, it, it just opens like opening the doors, you know, I used to stumble through consultations a lot more saying things like, well, it’s different for everybody.

And I always felt like there was a little bit. I’m an element of distrust between me and the person that I was speaking to because nobody really knows what a health coach is and part of their mind is always like, is this for real? And now I feel like I haven’t a signature program. I am better able to talk about the results that I get from my clients. And the consultations are going so much more easily and my closing rate is like through the roof with just a few small changes. So please, even if you’re listening to this, like months or years after this five day challenge has gone by, stop worrying about your prices and start thinking about your positioning. Great. And by the way, to fully answer your question, the only reason that I see to offer a shorter, less expensive program is as a marketing move. So you would be hoping for participants to sign up for that smaller program. Maybe they’re only paying you $100, $200, and then step up into your higher priced program.

All right, so we’re going to move on now to a couple of other questions that came in this week. And if you’re here live, please go ahead and tell me what your questions are in the comments.

One came in earlier today when I announced this topic, I don’t know why, but it sparked a question from Michelle, not me, a different Michelle, and she said that she would like to talk about how to deal with clients that want you to just tell them what to eat. Isn’t that more of a nutritionist or dietician thing? And since we as health coaches have a broader focus to bring all aspects of their life into balance.

Yeah, Michelle, that is our job. And yet people will consistently say things like, oh, just tell me what to eat. I hear ya, so for starters, I think this is somewhat solved or partially solved when you’re selling a signature program because they know that they have signed up to solve a problem that goes beyond.

Tell me what to eat. You know, unless your signature program is something like I’m going to tell you what to eat, but they’re signing up for something bigger and they’re not comparing you in their mind one to one with like what they would get from hiring a nutritionist or if they saw the Dietitian at the hospital, there’s going to be thinking about you in a whole different way. So I think that partially solves the issue. But of course anytime you start talking with someone about food, they’re going to default into what they have been accustomed to their whole life. And to be honest, most people have become accustomed to like, here’s a list of foods that I can eat. Here’s a list of foods that I can’t eat or some math equation to figure out what they can and can’t eat. And if you’re not going to tell them the rules to follow, they’re going to potentially get cranky with you.

And I want to let you know that I have absolutely fired clients who wanted to play that game, you know, because not like in a bad way, like, oh, they’re wrong and I’m right, but if that’s what they need right now, like that’s not the way that I work as a coach. So you can feel free to let someone know that this is not what you do as a health coach, not because you can’t, you don’t want to frame it as like, well, I’m not a dietician, so I really can’t tell you what to eat because that makes you look bad. And that’s not even the reason. The reason is because that’s stupid. It’s stupid to give someone a list of foods and tell them what they can and can’t that doesn’t last. It doesn’t work. And we all know it. That’s why we became health coaches, right?

So anyway, I can just let them know that this is not the way that I work with clients. They can’t expect for me a meal plan for them to follow. Exactly. That’s not what this is about. And if it continues to be an issue then they should find somebody else to work with who can give them what they need and you could just make it sound like, you know, maybe I’m just not the right fit for you and just cut them. Cut them and go and work with clients who are open to really looking at the holistic picture of their life and their relationship with food and don’t just want another set of rules.

Okay, here’s another question from Jen. Jen says, I’m a current student and I’m wondering what is your elevator pitch? How do you articulate what you do in a few sentences when making contact with someone? Likely a stranger who knows nothing about you.

Okay. I hear elevator pitches all the time and it’s so funny because like when I was in school long time ago, uh, we, yeah, you thought of the elevator pitches, something you might actually say in an elevator or like at a networking event and that’s still true. But you know, when it really like the rubber hits the road on your elevator pitch these days, it’s when you are writing your bio that has to be 150 characters and fit on your Instagram profile page. See how little that is. You can’t, you can’t give a whole long spiel about what you do and how you do it. One hundred and 50 characters. So I feel like that is the modern day equivalent to the elevator pitch. And I think that the best way that you can possibly introduce yourself, either in person or in your profile, is to say, I help blank get blank.

And it’s as simple as that. I help moms of twins get their sanity back. I don’t know. You know what it would be something that follows that format. I help CEOs lose weight, right? So just fill in the blanks. I’m giving you. I’m giving you the formula for this one. And it is that simple because if you get it into like, oh, I’m a health coach, I’m a certified bla, bla, bla, people’s brains just kind of turn off like they don’t care. They really don’t care, but if you say, I help moms have autistic kids recover from physical and emotional exhaustion and I know a mom who has a child with autism and I know how exhausted she is, like my mind goes directly to her, you know, or if I’m that mom, I’m like, tell me more. All right, so you want to say something that doesn’t give away like this whole list of all of your credentials because it’s boring and instead tell someone what you do in, in a way that it applies to them and their lives.

Okay. I help blank get blank and I promise you this is going to make it easier to talk about what you do as well as introduce yourself over social media. We’ve been working a lot on this inside healthy profit university lately and it’s just amazing how hard it can be to boil what you do down to this one sentence, but I feel like if you can’t then you really don’t know who your target market is. You really don’t know what you do. So and that and that’s okay, but you know, don’t walk out there. I’m just talking about health coaching that will get you nowhere.

All right. What other questions do we have today? You guys have one here from Rene. Rene says, I am three weeks in with a new client. She has a goal to lose 75 pounds yesterday. She signed up for a diet program to use in conjunction with coaching as she wants faster results. It’s a prepackaged, highly processed product, full of artificial sweeteners, sodium and cheap protein. Obviously, I’m being supportive and nonjudgmental and continuing to coach, but worried that she’s undermining long-term results. Has anyone else dealt with this and how can I handle it?

Renee girl, I hear you. That is like nails on a blackboard. I think for all of us to hear that somebody would hire you as a coach and then go and sign up for Jenny Craig or whatever it is, so I feel your pain on that and yeah, I think I have definitely been in similar situations.

If it’s not signing up for the prepackaged food, it might be like they just decided to go rogue and you speak with them and they’re like, oh yeah. I started the Keto Diet and you’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa. What? Okay. And you want to be supportive and you want to maintain the relationship. But again, if they don’t reach their goals, you don’t want them to blame you. Oh, well I worked with this coach and it didn’t help. Meanwhile they’re doing all this stuff that you never even remotely suggested. So I think the best thing you can do is let your clients come to their own conclusions. Like, I’m not going to tell my client like, no, you really shouldn’t be doing Keto and here’s the four reasons why it would be better to her for her to kind of figure it out herself. But you can aid in that process.

So you know she’s in your case, she’s eating these prepackaged meals. So you could do a label reading exercise just in general. You could say, you know, it’s really helpful to help you reach your goals is to learn how to read labels and maybe you can have her read like a jar of peanut butter and a salad dressing bottle. And then you could say something like, oh, what’d you have for lunch? Do you have the package handy? And you could go through that list as well. So she could in her own mind, she could be like, oh yeah, there was a lot of sugar in that. And, oh goodness, there’s a lot of preservatives and oh, what is this? And what is that. You don’t have to say a word, you just answer her questions. Now she’s going to start to go, hmm, maybe this isn’t the right decision.

Okay? So that’s one thing. Let them come to their own conclusions and you know, you can kind of lead them there, but don’t be so overbearing that they feel like you’re being unsupportive. On that note, the other thing that you can say, instead of like spouting about what you think she should be eating, just ask, okay, you’ve signed up with Jenny Craig. How are you feeling? Uh, what’s going on with you today? How can I best support you? Because unlike that other person, we were just talking about the one that’s like, just telling me what to eat. Clearly this client doesn’t want you to tell her what to eat, so my question as a coach would be like, what do you want from me? How can I best support you in this journey? And listen, you know, they’re going to tell you what they need. Maybe it’s just someone to talk to and that is perfectly legitimate.

The other thing that I might do in this scenario, Renee, is I might offer alternatives if and when it made sense, so again, wait for your client to realize the problems, like maybe she’s going to mention that the breakfast are too expensive. She’s buying the prepackaged stuff, but the breakfast are too expensive. She doesn’t want to buy them anymore and you’re like, oh, well maybe I can offer you some alternatives. Maybe we can come up with some things that you can make or you could buy that would be cheaper and very similar, but of course it would be real food, right? So just meet her where she is. That’s the best you can really do with anybody.

I’ve got a few more minutes here. You guys, what do you want to talk about? Maybe you’re wondering like Susan, who asked how important are headshots?

Simple question, Susan. I’m going to go ahead and say pretty darn important. I wanted to say they weren’t important because I hate telling you guys like, Oh, you need this, this, this, and this. Before you can get your business off the ground, you really don’t need very much. My very first headshot that was on my website was a picture of me holding my son and I had cropped his head out the best I could and did a little bit of retouching to the photo and that was it. Now did it look great? No, it really didn’t it, but it was fine. You know, so do the best you can, but I feel like professional headshots make a world of difference.

You know, we all see each other’s headshots on social media. We know what it looks like to have that photo where you cropped out your kid or that photo where you’re done up just a little too much and you have like flowers in your hair and you just know that it was actually from a wedding. So I think you can hire somebody for not that much money to get a headshot done. Headshots of course really vary from very stiff and you know, some adult to come and like move your shoulders and tilt your head and then they tell you to smile and act natural and you’re like, you don’t look natural at all. I had some terrible headshots from photographers who tried to do that and some of my best shots have come as sort of outtakes or like the pictures in between the pictures when I was doing a photo shoot when I was actually laughing or saying something or you know, just being actually being normal, but the lighting was good.

The lighting is so, so, so key. So anyway, I would definitely look for someone who does headshots or who does photography to help you out, but maybe not use the word headshot. A headshot just really implies like you’re a government employee and you need that boring headshot. Whereas if you get a photographer who’s going to do more shots of you, you can always crop in on your face. But I would totally do that. Susan. I think it lends a more professional air, makes you feel more confident putting yourself out there and you’re going to need pictures. You’re going to need pictures beyond just a headshot for posting on social media. You can need pictures to put on sales pages. I need so many pictures of myself all the time. I feel like a narcissist because I’m always looking through folders and folders and folders of pictures of my own face, but you need them.

So book the photo shoots you guys. I think I need a new one myself. It’s been about a year already. I don’t see any other questions coming in today. So two things before we wrap up. So the first is a reminder of course to join us for the five days signature program challenge and you can register for free at findyourbalancehealth.com/signature. Secondly, I want to say thank you to Keeparoo7909. Who left this review on iTunes for us? It says, I found this podcast by mistake and I’m so glad. I’m definitely learning so much from all this wonderful free content. Michelle is gracefully providing. Thank you so much. That is an awesome mistake you guys. If you’re going to stumble on something, you might as well stumble on something useful. Keeparoo7909, nice, nice iTunes handle. I hope I’m pronouncing that correctly.

Please send us your mailing address to support@healthcoachpower.com because we have a little gift for you to say thanks and for everybody. Please, please head over to iTunes and leave a five-star rating and review. I put out a whole lot of free content. I don’t know if you’ve noticed week in and week out and in order to keep doing that, I need your ratings and your reviews so that we can reach more coaches. Thank you so very much and I’ll be back next week. Keep asking all those great questions and I promise I will keep answering them. Take care of everybody.