Office Hours Archive: January 7, 2020

Audio stream


1:15 Full transcript

Rebecca just filled a group program with thirty participants who paid $1,000 each. The promise of the program is to help freelance writers increase a) increase their proposal success rate with desirable publications and b) earn correspondingly higher rates.

The program works and has a long history of happy, successful clients. 

These were her main questions:

Should she immediately start selling spots for the next group, even though it won’t start for a few months?

My answer: yes. If people will pay you now, take their money. No reason to let their enthusiasm diminish while they’re waiting or the doors to open again.

She had 100 people sign up for consults about the program during November and December, and that was exhausting. Should she switch to webinar selling?

My answer: yes. If she were only doing a couple consults per week, no big deal. But 100 in two months? It’s time to move to develop the skill of webinar selling. You might be terrible at it for a while. That’s not a problem. You’ll get better with practice, maybe you’ll get some coaching/take a course, and you’ll figure it out.

My biggest advice for Rebecca was to start thinking about raising the price of the group. 

She shared that the enrollment process was exhausting, and she was questioning whether $30k was worth all the trouble when she could make the same or more money with much less work by doing one on one coaching.

I agreed with her, and told her my advice would be to do one of two things:

Lower the price to make the yes much easier for the prospect, or

Raise the price a lot to make the yes much more lucrative for her…lucrative enough to offset the lost “yeses” associated with the higher price.

I prefer the second option. Here’s why:

First reason: A lower price would require more yeses to reach the same financial result. If you need more yeses, you need more marketing. You might have to build a whole new marketing system to bring you enough prospects to get you all those low-paying yeses. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s certainly not the lowest-hanging fruit.

Second reason: The return on investment for the client is very clear, and she has the testimonials to prove it. When the client succeeds with her program, they change their earning power forever. In other words, if her program is worth $1,000, it’s worth $2,500 or $5,000…and she doesn’t even exaggerate the math to support the price. 

I asked her this: Let’s say your client recoups their $1,000 investment in three months. Do you really think they’ll find it unacceptable to earn it back in, say, six to nine months? Because after that pay-back period they’re going to earn interest on their new skills for the rest of their careers.

My final thought for Rebecca was that the $1,000 price makes her program to much work for her, relative to the money it generates. If she wants to keep launching it, she needs to make it easier on herself, because otherwise the simple math will force her to drop that program and make her money in one on one coaching.


20:24 Full transcript

Ceri did thirty sales consults in December after doing a Black Friday promotion. She had a very low no-show rate (great news), and some of the no-shows rescheduled (great news). 

Ceri’s wondering about a sales method she’s been taught that requires the prospect to be a “yes” or a “no” on the call. In other words, the prospect isn’t really given an opportunity to “go think about it” or “talk to my husband.”

Ceri doesn’t feel great doing it, but in a month where she had thirty consults it didn’t feel practical to let everyone go think about it and then schedule follow-ups. So, what should she do?

I’m familiar with the method, and I’ve been asked about it a few times in the last year.  

First of all, there’s no right or wrong here. What we’re looking for in our sales approach is something that a) feels good to us, and b) gets a yes a high-enough percentage of the time. That’s it. 

Now, of course we know we can practice feeling good in any sales approach, so the clearer way to say this might be “a sales approach that doesn’t require us to change beliefs and attitudes that feel correct to us, deep down.” It’s a mouthful, but it’s a little more precise.

Anyway, here’s my take:

If I’m the prospect and you tell me I have to make a decision right now and/or that I don’t have the opportunity to go talk to my spouse and/or you want to really dig into my reasons for wanting to think about it….

I’m out. The end.

In my opinion the approach conveys a total lack of confidence on the part of the sales person. It also makes me (as the prospect) think the salesperson’s primary concern is the transaction, not the relationship.

Let me be clear: I’m not fully educated on this approach, and I imagine it can be done with care and sincerity.

But I know this: humans are predictable. When you push, they push back. When you chase, they run away. For me, any tactic where you’re getting close to pushing or chasing is a no-go. 

Am I saying you should always be setting up follow-up consults when someone says they want to think about it? No way. When they say they want to think about it, I say sounds good. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

If I don’t hear from them, I DO NOT start sending them needy follow-up emails. But I DO keep in touch. If they ghost me (and a very high percentage will ghost me), I send a message a couple of weeks (or months!) later saying “Just thinking about you. How’s it going?”

And sometimes, just sometimes, they’ll thank me for the follow up and tell me they’re now ready to work together. 

Listen, this is a philosophical and stylistic issue. You have to figure out what feels good to you and works a high-enough percentage of the time. That’s it. Great question from Ceri.


41:34 Full transcript

Jennifer and her husband, Lee, are growing her coaching practice together. Jennifer is in charge of content and coaching, Lee is in charge of technology, marketing (Facebook ads), and finances.

They’ve partnered successfully in a past business, but they came to me wondering how they can make the current partnership work better. 

I asked what they meant by that, and Jennifer told me they sometimes find themselves waiting on each other.

Jennifer might say to Lee, “We really need to get these Facebook ads going.”

Lee might say to Jennifer, “I need that blog post you were going to write.”

In other words, some deadlines are being missed, and they were feeling like it’s a partnership issue. 

I asked if there’s any resentment between them. No, they told me. (Their tone of voice and body language confirmed to me that they seem to NOT be frustrated with each other. Great.)

I asked if either of them feels like the other is slowing things down. No, they told me. (Again, I believed them.)

So I gave them my take: there are no partnership issues here. You’re happy to be working together, you’re nice to each other, and I don’t see any signs of blame or resentment. (Maybe Jennifer and Lee should be marriage coaches.)

Bottom line for me: the reason they’re not getting things done is that they’re agreeing to tasks and deadlines and then…not getting stuff done. They’re in a partnership, so an easy mental outlet is to say “maybe the partnership isn’t working.” But the reality seems to be that the partnership is fine, but the partners are simply missing their deadlines.

That sounded right to Jennifer and Lee, and we were done. Fun conversation.


50:48 Full transcript

Andrea coaches women who’ve experienced infidelity in their marriage and want to move past it. 

She came to Office Hours because she’s not sure how to share that sentence in different settings, which I know many of us can relate to.

She coaches Latter-day Saint women–this is her main goal and passion. But she also happily coach women of other Christian denominations and non-religious women who have the same challenge.

Here’s what I told her:

On your home page, the most general version: “I help women who’ve experienced infidelity in their marriage.”

On landing pages where ad traffic enters her website: “I help [whatever relates to the ad] women who’ve experienced infidelity in their marriage.”

In a meetup with Christian women: “I help Christian women…”

In a meetup with Latter-day Saint women: “I help Latter-day Saint women…”

Simple enough, right? It’s a short answer, but it’s a great question. Tailor your message to the person in front of you, whether in-person or on a web page.


59:03 Full transcript

Morgan and I covered a lot of ground. We talked for over thirty minutes, but I think there’s a lot of gold in the segment. Maybe skip one of your regular podcasts this week and go listen to our chat.

Morgan does a lot:

She’s developed some courses that teach people to use Shopify.
She runs a group coaching program for freelance designers that helps them run a better business and earn more.
She occasionally takes on design projects for clients.
She has one ongoing retainer client.
She’s the primary earner in her household.
She has young kids. 

She came to Office Hours to talk about an offer she has from an agency (about 20 minutes from her house) to work in their office four days per month for $3,000.

She’s trying to weigh the pros and cons and decide how it would fit with the rest of her priorities.

Again, I think this audio segment is worth your time if you’re a mom balancing financial and relationship responsibilities. 


1:35:21 Full transcript

Becca told me her business continues to feel great, now that she’s stopped feeling like she needs to hurry to a specific financial result. She keeps filling lunch n learns, and she even has couples (rather than just wives) coming to the next one. New dimensions to her work, new growth. Fun. 

Her biggest question in this session was how to decide what sacrifices to make in her family in service of her business goals. Should she hire care for her youngest so she could give more time to the business? She doesn’t want to miss anything in her kids’ lives, and she also wants to create a great business. How should she think about this?

I told her that we can all, of course, get ourselves to feel however we want about these tradeoffs. We can also design a scenario whose title is “Being totally present with my kids while building a great business.” We define it. We execute it. 

Sounds simple enough, but I’m not saying it’s easy.

It might help to think about specific scenarios, for example:

Kids have a field trip at school that competes with a client call. 

Which one am I unwilling to miss?


What are the (perceived) costs and benefits of missing one or the other? 

What are the (perceived) long-term consequences of missing one or the other?

If you run through specific scenarios–honestly, compassionately, without judgment–you’ll uncover your true values and make clear decisions about the short-term tradeoffs you’re willing or unwilling to make for the sake of your business. 

Food for thought! See you next week!