If you are a “transformational entrepreneur”, such as a business and lifestyle coach, yoga instructor, healer, spiritual teacher, author, motivational speaker or personal growth trainer, you probably already know that serving high-end clients plays a key role in growing your business well into the six figures. Most transformational entrepreneurs use a one-on-one, dollars-per-hour service model and at some point, you max out on the number of clients you can serve in a week or month. Because your income is a result of the simple math of number of clients multiplied by the fee per client, increasing the fee per client is the only way to increase your income in the one-on-one model. That means you need at least some of your clients to be high-end if you want to generate more income.
What can you do to start attracting those highly desirable premium clients? In this article I walk you through five simple steps for attracting your right-and-perfect high-paying clients. Let’s dive right in so you can start using these strategies right away.
Embody the confidence and energy of a highly qualified and highly paid expert.
In order to get paid like a highly valued expert, you must believe you possess valuable knowledge and skills because your clients will value you only as much as you value your work and yourself.
If you’ve been operating within the dollars-for-hours model of most service providers, such as many coaches, healers, practitioners and consultants are, up-leveling the way in which you serve your clients will likely involve some significant mindset shifts. You’re going to be shifting from thinking about your value – and what fees you can charge – in terms of the amount of time expended to thinking in terms of the amount of value and results delivered. It’s a critical change in perception.
You know more than you think you know, of that I am certain. What you’ve been through in life has taught you a lot of valuable skills and knowledge. Women, especially, chronically underestimate their abilities, to their great detriment. I recently read an article in the Atlantic magazine that said studies have shown that a woman will only apply for a new position if she’s confident that she meets 100% of the job requirements. Men? They go for it if they feel they meet only 60%. The implications and consequences are disturbing and they directly influence your level of success as an entrepreneur: when you believe yourself to be highly qualified and a valuable contributor, your beliefs often become self-fulfilling prophesies. Those who value themselves and their work attract higher paying clients. Those who don’t believe in themselves struggle to attract any clients at all and end up discounting their fees.
You should assess the value of your expertise not so much by the position in life you have achieved or by the number of certifications that you possess but instead by the obstacles which you have successfully overcome. More than an undisputed authority, people want to work with someone they can relate to and someone who has faced the same or similar challenges they face right now. People first and foremost want to know the answers to these following questions, with the first ones being the most important:
1. Who are you and what have you been through in your life that I can relate to in my own life?
2. What have you struggled with and overcome and how did you do it?
3. What lessons and valuable insights did you learn along the way?
4. What have you been successful at and what have been your results?
5. What can you teach me that I can apply to my life to make it better?
Your stories of struggle, tragedy and triumph establish you as a real, relatable, believable person who has successfully navigated the dark and treacherous waters of your client’s problem and you’ve made it safely to shore with valuable knowledge on how they can best chart a safe course across similar seas. Your so-called failures in life are even more valuable than your successes to those who are looking to you to guide them. They essentially tell your clients, “I understand where you are. I’ve been there. I’ve stood in the darkness and I’ve survived and even thrived. We are in this together and I’m here to help you.”
The truth is that you don’t have to be the top expert on your topic in order to help a lot of people. Always remember that you are much further along on the path and know more than others who aren’t as far along as you are, and to those people, you are already an expert.
Offer your services packaged as premium programs or high-end projects.
This step seems rather obvious, doesn’t it? It’s surprising, though, how many entrepreneurs are trying to attract premium clients by offering run-of-the-mill services, programs and products! In order to attract and enroll clients willing to pay top dollar, you must be offering something worth the premium price and in a way that clients will perceive it to be worth ten times the investment.
The top trainers in the world across all areas of expertise such as marketing, sales, personal growth, spiritual connection, money mastery, creating health and the healing arts, all know that exceptional program design and delivery are essential to creating powerful programs, events and products that sell like crazy and make a huge difference in people’s lives because they largely dictate the kind of experience your customer will have and how they will feel about you when they walk away. You could have the best information in the world, but if the container or context for your knowledge and the structure of your program or event is off, it can seriously undermine its effectiveness and the perceived value of what you’re teaching.
When your services are offered as premium programs or high-end projects, you are leveraging the power of repeatable, step-by-step processes that yield specific desired results to help your clients achieve their results faster and with greater ease. You also make it easier for clients to say yes to you. People feel more secure about investing in a program – in a system – with a pre-defined path to success that gives them the exact steps, resources and tools they need. Clients know, “I do the steps, I get the results”. The way the program is designed actually helps your clients get the results, and when your clients are successful, it gives you credibility and positions you as a valuable expert on your topic.
A system also helps you know what always comes next with clients. It makes your job a lot easier and you do a better job for your clients, too. You’re guiding them along a pre-defined path that you know gets people successfully from point A to point B. It doesn’t mean you have zero flexibility, but you don’t want to fall into the trap of customizing your program for every client because then it’s not really a true system anymore.
Your system gives you valuable structure so you’re not making it up as you go along simply hoping your clients get results. Think of your system as your roadmap. With a map, you know that if you need to go from California to NY, you can take out the map and see exactly the roads and turns you need to make. Without a map, you could spend an eternity wandering around without making much progress toward your destination. Unless your intent is to get lost, you’d never start out on a road trip without first looking at the route you need to take.
To contrast, let’s look at the typical business coach. I’ve hired several at different points in my life, so I have personal experience with the typical style of coaching. I have liked every one of my coaches personally, but each of them functioned more like a counselor or sounding board than a business coach. The usual scenario would go something like this:
- They’d ask me what goals I had. I’d tell them.
- We’d agree to work on a particular goal and what the next step would be.
- I’d do that step.
- We’d have a coaching call. The coach would ask, “How’d it go?”
- I’d tell her and then there would be a follow up action.
There was never a plan or specific steps laid out ahead of time by the coach. Although I enjoyed the conversations for the most part, I didn’t feel like I made much progress, so I terminated the coaching sessions. It’s not that the coaches didn’t have the best of intentions. It’s simply that their knowledge wasn’t organized into a system that both they and I could follow that would end in a specific, predictable, tangible outcome.
This is where the program structure and delivery method really come into play. Too many programs are structured more like “information dumps” instead of one that truly helps its clients. Simply giving your clients a ton of great information is not the goal; you have to walk them through information relevant to their pressing problem in a logical, step-by-step sequence while also giving them the support they need to be successful with each step.
Be selective about which clients you work with.
Not everyone should be my client. I focus on serving those who I can best help and who are a right and perfect fit for me given my expertise and set of values. You should do the same.
Thinking that everyone is a client actually dilutes your message and hampers your ability to connect with those people who you can serve best: your true ideal clients. Turning away some potential clients is not only smart, it’s necessary for your business to thrive. It’s kind of a radical idea, especially when so many sales trainings teach people to go after every potential client and to never take no for an answer. “If the person can fog a mirror, he’s a potential client” and “Don’t quit until you get a Yes!” were phrases I often heard in my former male-dominated corporate life. Based on personal experience, I feel that advice couldn’t be more wrong and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by companies on market research seem to support my opinion.
You may be tempted to try to throw a wide net and capture as many clients as possible, regardless of whether they match your ideal client profile or not. Not only will you waste a lot of money marketing to people who will never be interested in what you have to offer, failing to turn away some clients can spell trouble for your profitability and your business’ survival, especially if your premium program or project packages are attached to your personal brand. Since most transformational entrepreneurs – that is to say, coaches, speakers, authors, healers, spiritual leaders, health and fitness gurus and so on – use speaking, live events, workshops, courses, retreats and coaching programs as the vehicle to sell their expertise, you need pay special attention to the type of customers you’re wooing and accepting as clients. Learning how to connect with your ideal clients and gracefully turn away those that aren’t is an essential skill that must be developed.
Always deliver real value with excellence.
You can deliver premium value via premium results. At the end of the day, people are buying the results your program or project promises, not you.
If you’ve been in business for a while and have been undercharging for your services, you’ve probably been under-serving your clients, too, even though it was never your intention. When you undervalue and undercharge for your services, you must serve a ton of clients to even make it another month in business. It’s simple math. In this kind of situation, you can’t give people your best because you don’t have enough time or energy to do so. You’re spreading yourself too thin and running yourself ragged.
However, when you structure your business to provide highly desirable results to high-end clients, you only need to enroll a handful of committed clients each month (or maybe even fewer than that, depending on how you structure your program and fees), leaving you with more time and energy for each client. You’ll be able to focus on serving each client more fully, thus helping them even more effectively. When you up-level the way in which you work with your clients, you get to deliver results that really matter to your clients in a high-touch, full-service manner and for which they are happy to pay top dollar.
Additionally, you help your clients quickly get the hugely important results they sincerely want and need, which empowers you to charge premium fees in full integrity and let go of the low-priced and dollars-per-hour models that drive so many entrepreneurs out of business.
Continually learn and focus on your own growth, which strengthens your ability to effectively do your work and help your clients.
The entrepreneurs who are most effectively able to communicate their messages, be confident in the value they provide and transform the lives of their clients are seekers at heart. They are committed to mastering their topic and weaving in complementary skills and new methods for helping their clients and are, therefore, constantly consuming information that supports this purpose. As one of my mentors says, “Student first, teacher second, servant always.”
Over the past 20 years, I’ve invested many tens of thousands of dollars in seminars, courses, online programs and live intensives and my life has been radically different as a result. Early in my personal growth journey, I noticed that during and right after I’d enrolled in a program, a major shift in my life would occur. Most often the shift came in the form of new opportunities resulting from my expanded skillset and thinking. On occasion, the shift came as “shift hitting the fan.” Every time that kind of shift has happened to me, I’ve noticed that the knowledge I’d just acquired or the experience I’d recently had at a program ended up saving my hide. In every instance I was stronger, more effective at dealing with the challenge and bounced back faster than if I hadn’t been focusing on my personal growth.
In fact, I still invest thousands of dollars each year in courses and programs that help me to serve my clients at a higher level (and improve my life and business, as a result). It's been demonstrated that those who continually learn, apply and adapt are the ones who create extraordinary levels of success, income and impact. I remember it simply as “Those who continually learn, continuously earn.” I can’t imagine I’d be doing the work I’m doing if it weren’t for my love of learning, self-inquiry and pushing to expand the boundaries of what I believe I can do.
For every entrepreneur, continual learning is an absolute necessity. Your success is powered by your skill set, self-assessment of your personal capabilities and mindset, which impacts everything you do from marketing to creating your programs to attracting and working with clients. If it’s important to your long-term success, you must master it yourself. Examples of must-have skills include writing, copywriting for marketing, specifically, speaking, sales, persuasion, coaching, creating audio and preferably video content and social media.
Becoming well-informed about the ins and outs of your profession doesn’t mean you must always do everything yourself, but you need to be sufficiently knowledgeable in these areas so that you at least know if someone you hire is doing a good job for you or not. And, more often than not, in the beginning entrepreneurs are doing it all themselves, anyway. It’s a sad situation when someone has an amazing talent and fabulous program, but she can’t seem to enroll anyone in it because her copywriting is terrible, for instance. Investing in learning these skills, even if it takes you a few years, will pay off handsomely in the lifetime of increased confidence and greater financial gain.
I’d love to hear about the results you get from using these strategies.
- How do you plan to change or up-level what you’re offering?
- What kind of premium program, project or service are you going to create to attract premium clients?
If you’ve found these strategies helpful, please share this article with your friends.
As always… Shine Brilliantly!