Want To Be One Of Those People?
You know — the ones who make it all look so easy.
Perhaps she’s a friend or colleague of yours.
She has a business, like you do, and charges even higher rates… for work that’s far less impactful.
She’s always booked with a handful of high-paying clients, a growing list of people waiting to hire her, and a calendar that’s surprisingly open.
She has a family, like you do, but doesn’t seem to be “juggling.”
She’s thrown away her to-do list, and yet she gets more done than anyone you know.
Every week she has time to hang with friends, go to yoga class, have a date with her hubby, and play with the kids… yet, she never looks frazzled.
She loves her work, like you do, but she’s not afraid to leave it for a few weeks and take a vacation at the shore. (Wait, that was last year. This year she’s doing Tuscany.)
Unlike most successful people you know, she doesn’t seem to be pushing herself to the brink of exhaustion.
She’s a certain age, like you are, but she doesn’t look it. She must be getting 8 hours at night. And you’d sleep like that, too, if you could just shut off your brain.
How the heck does she do it?
You should probably envy her. But you don’t.
You admire her.
It’s like in When Harry Met Sally — “You want what she’s having!”
Well, guess what. You can have it too.
It’s called freedom.
Once you learn what she knows about how your mind really works, limiting thoughts and time-sucking distractions will be a thing of the past.
You’ll charge much more than you already do and get it.
Your confidence will soar just like hers. No more second-guessing.
You’ll have fun, creative, money-making ideas and implement them as easily as she does.
You’ll function on a higher level in every area of your life. You’ll get things done, habitually “go for it,” and the success and fulfillment you covet will naturally fall into place.
You’ll enjoy more time for yourself and your family, and your business will still thrive. (Translation: you’ll be working far less and earning much more.)
Stress will be largely irrelevant, just as it is for her.
To have what she has — Freedom has to come first, or all bets are off.
That’s why I created Freedom First Living, to show you how.
Interested? Start Here
Has this ever happened to you? It sure has happened to me.
And when it did I felt like I needed a shower just to be okay again. It’s almost embarrassing to admit.
You’ve had several great conversations with a potential client. You’re sure they’re an ideal prospect because they really need your help. They love talking to you. You feel a real sense of rapport.
You’ve given them several hours of your time, and you’ve truly demonstrated your value and expertise. You just know the clients is going to say “Yes,” so you start mentally spending the proceeds from the sale.
New shoes? Check. Trip to Bermuda. Checkeroo. Set aside money for Junior’s college fund. Check and double-check.
Then you present what you think is a compelling offer to work together, and it goes… Drumroll, please… Absolutely nowhere.
Your enthusiasm plummets faster than the air being let out of a balloon. It’s like getting “gonged” on the old Gong Show (you have to have been alive in the ‘70s to get that reference). Not a pretty picture, is it?
It can be so frustrating when you know you’re great at what you do but you don’t have the results to show for it.
This is one of the biggest challenges I see with clients who want to make dramatic shifts in the level of clients they serve and the fees they charge.
If you want to master selling to the high-level clients and put an end to the “They-love-you-and-take-tons-of-your-precious-time-but-don’t-hire-you” Blues, here are 3 critical skills you need to master:
1) Screening Out Unqualified Clients
Think of it this way — no one is responsible for you spending hours and hours wooing a potential client except you. When you up-level the standard of clients you serve and the fees that go with that service, you have to up-level your game too.
You can use a well-designed pre-consultation questionnaire to help you identify clients that meet your criteria for working together.
You can use language on your website designed to scare off unqualified prospects, for example, if they can’t commit the time or energy it will take to truly solve the problem.
Heck, you can even charge a fee for initial consultations that gets waived if they retain you.
The bottom line is, you need to let potential clients know early on in the process what the financial commitment is to work with you. This can be either a fee range or a minimum fee. If they don’t have the resources to hire you, no matter how much they need it and would love working with you, you need to find that out long before you present an offer. It can be as simple as:
“Based on what you’ve told me so far, my sense is you’d be looking at an investment of between $5,000-$15,000 to solve this problem permanently. Before we go any further, I wanted to share that with you so there are no surprises down the road. Do you still want to flesh this out in more detail?”
2) Identify the Client’s Real Sense of Urgency
You simply can’t be “floopy” when leading the sale to its rightful conclusion. Notice I said rightful conclusion. That includes the client saying No. Maybe it’s not the right timing. Maybe it’s not a good fit. Whatever the case, honor that No is always a valid response.
But before you accept an initial No and move on, ask yourself, “Have I identified the client’s real sense of urgency?”
Just because you’re having a great conversation and the client seems to really like what you’re saying and needs the solution you provide, doesn’t mean they’re willing to pay your fee. The problem might be you’re not talking about the thing that’s really keeping them up at night, and if they knew you could help with that, they’d be engaging with you right now.
If you’re hearing No frequently, this is one of the biggest reasons why. Stop over-selling your products and/or services. Redirect the conversation to find the thing that would benefit them the most. When you discover the problems your clients most want solved, you’ll be much closer to landing a new client.
3) Exhibiting Leadership and Professional Self-Esteem
To me, this is far and away the most important. Without it, #1 and #2 are far less likely to happen on any kind of consistent basis.
What this means is every single step of the sales process, including Needs Discovery, requires you to direct the process. You have to exude a sense of “I’ve-got-this” confidence. You can’t waiver at signs of resistance from the client. You can’t allow the doubts, insecurities, and “Oh, sh** — it’s happening again” thoughts to get to you. They’re normal. And they’re not meaningful. It’s safe to ignore them.
Lead the process. Say you’re an attorney working in trademarks and intellectual property. You’ve met with a client and assessed their needs. To move to the next phase, you might say:
“Here’s what needs to happen next if you’re serious about protecting your IP and fully leveraging it. We’ll need to set up a follow-up meeting where I’ll share several options for moving forward. Based on what we’ve discussed, it’s likely to range between $10-20,000 with an initial retainer of $3,500 to get started. Is this something you’d like to pursue?”
If a question is asked or a concern is raised (notice I didn’t say objection), this is a great opportunity to further engage the client and win their trust. Clients have every right to ask questions. Welcome them. Praise them for asking such insightful questions. Then ask questions of your own.
“Tell me more about your concern.”
“Why is that important for you?”
“What will solving this enable you to do? How much is that worth to your company’s annual growth?”
The specific questions aren’t the point. The point is to stay out of your head. Ignore thoughts about yourself and the sale, and pay attention to the ones about the client’s situation. Seek to understand what’s important to them and why.
There are an infinite number of scenarios that can arise. There’s no point memorizing how to handle them. The best thing you can do is allow your mind to stay unburdened and notice what’s called for in the moment.
Sales requires a top-notch inner and outer-game. Get coaching on sales from someone who understands and is great at both. It’ll move you forward faster than anything else I know.
If you have a specific scenario that’s tripped you up in the past or are struggling with a sale right now, leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to address it.
Here are the big takeaways:
Stop making offers to unqualified potential clients. Identify them early and direct them to the best resource for where they are right now.
Take the lead on every aspect of the sales process by simply stating what the next step is and what you need them to do. Always ask if they would like to take that step before proceeding.
And finally, make sure you are talking with a client about a truly urgent problem that they’d be willing to invest money to resolve — because there’s a real return on investment for them, i.e. a cost savings, increase in revenue, new market opportunity, or some other intangible benefit they value highly.
I don’t care how much money is in your bank account right now. I don’t care how much you owe.
I don’t care about your relationship to money. Your fears and insecurities. The role models you had as a child.
They’re all meaningless.
There are all these programs out there convincing you you’ve got these hidden money blocks, unseen barriers that only the person selling you the $499 course can teach you to break through.
Who knows? Maybe they work. I have no doubt they work for the creator of the course who keeps getting richer and richer capitalizing on a simple, widely-held misunderstanding.
But if you’ve invested as much money as I have over the years trying to overcome money fears and insecurities so you can create a new billion-dollar mindset, I’ve got great news.
You don’t need to work through your money issues, one painful issue at a time.
I mean, really, who has that kind of time?
You don’t need a new money mindset.
Although when you see the truth about your relationship to money, you’ll probably develop one.
No, I’m not crazy. In fact, I could be so sane your head will be spinning like a top in a few minutes.
Just hear me out.
I’m going to suggest…
No wait. I’m going to declare that right now you are 100% financially free. You just don’t realize it.
And it’s the fact that you don’t realize it that’s holding you back from more joy, more peace of mind, more happiness, and quite frankly, more money.
Financial freedom is not about having enough money so you never have to work again.
Look around, lots of people with more than enough dough to live happily ever after are miserable, depressed, self-destructive, and just plain stressed.
So it can’t be that financial freedom is amassing enough coin to feel safe.
Hey, look, I’m with you. I’d like to give that theory a try just to see for myself.
But hang with me for another minute or two.
Financial freedom isn’t about knowing you have the talent, skill, or capacity to go out and make money any time you need it. That would imply that personal freedom is conditional — that it’s dependent on having certain talents, skills, or beliefs. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Freedom, including Financial Freedom, has always been there since the day you were born. But just as the clouds occasionally obscure the sun, so do thoughts occasionally disconnect you from the innate Financial Freedom that’s always there and can never be taken away.
As soon as the thoughts pass, you’re free once again.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s pretty cool knowing you can create money when you need it. But it’s not financial freedom in the truest sense of the word.
Real financial freedom is recognizing you don’t need another dime to have happiness, well-being, and peace of mind because freedom is your essence.
You don’t experience money. Never have. Never will. Your entire relationship with money is made up.
You don’t experience money. You experience your thoughts about money.
If your ideas about money and your ability to create it aren’t serving you, it’s no big deal. There’s no substance to any of them.
Somewhere along the way, you got some ideas about money and you believed them, not because they were true. Because they looked real at the time.
Take a look for yourself. If you keep looking, I have no doubt you’ll see thoughts don’t reflect the truth, they reflect your state of mind when you’re thinking them.
If you stopped listening to what you think about money and your ability to create it, keep it, or accumulate it, your thinking would change. You’d be completely free to go out and make money with nothing in the way.
Do you think it’d be easier to create and accumulate money if you stopped paying attention to all your thoughts about how difficult it is?
Simple? Yes. Powerful? More than you can imagine. This is the game-changer you’ve been fantasizing about.
Keep looking deeper at what I’m saying here. I promise there’s a life-changing insight waiting for you.
Financial Freedom has nothing to do with money. It’s knowing your ability to experience happiness and peace is 100% independent of money.
Now, wait a minute. You mean to tell me I can be happy with no money?
You’ve completely lost it man.
Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
I didn’t say life wasn’t way more fun with plenty of money to do the things that bring you joy.
If you want to keep your home, send your kids to college, travel to Italy, or buy a new car, you need money to do it.
I love money and plan to keep making it.
But I realize that Financial Freedom really has nothing to do with money.
It’s a realization about what’s really going on when we don’t feel financially free. (Hint: it’s the only problem we ever really have — thinking that looks real but isn’t.)
You want to smack me right now, don’t you?
There’ve been times I’ve had plenty of money but felt worried.
There’ve been times I’ve had plenty of money and felt relaxed.
There’ve been times I’ve had serious money problems and felt panicked.
There’ve been times I’ve had serious money problems and felt at peace.
Feelings tell you about your state of mind, nothing more.
The more you see for yourself just how true that is, the more in touch you’ll be with the Financial Freedom that’s always available to you.
No matter the status of your bank account, you’ll be less up-in-your-head in sales conversations. You’ll see more opportunities. You’ll take more bold action. And ultimately, you’ll make more money.
After all, when you discover how free you already are, there’s nothing you have to lose.
What’s the deal with best practices anyway? Is it just me or has everyone latched on to Best Practices as the Holy Grail of the business world.
I’m seeing and hearing it everywhere lately. Blog posts. White papers. Books. Webinars. We’re being led to believe we’ll all be saved by best practices. It’ll be great. We’ll all dance and sing and hold hands.
I’m just waiting for Cosmo or Glamour to come out with the Best Practices for Great Sex after 40! Who knows — maybe they already have, and I missed it.
I’m half-kidding, of course, best practices have their place. They have value… provided you have the understanding to give them real horsepower in the context of what you’re trying to do.
Let me explain..
For starters, when someone writes the Best Practices for something, there’s a built-in assumption — “there is a best way to achieve a specific outcome, and I have found it.”
Here’s the problem with that. Every list of best practices ever invented was “discovered” through trial and error. Insight and adjustment. Tweaking and refinement. It was informed by the insights of the author.
The truth is there are probably an infinite number of ways to achieve the same outcomes the author did (or even better). In fact, there as many different ways as there are people.
And those best practices worked once, maybe more than once. But they never, ever work in the absence of wisdom and common sense.
Are best practices a complete waste of time? Should you completely ignore them and reinvent the wheel every single time you want to create something new?
Of course not. That would be pretty foolish.
Best Practices are great when you see them for what they are –
A set of guidelines. A way that worked for one person one time. Or the way the person thinks they worked.
To me, the best use of Best Practices is as the raw material for your own insights.
When we’re feeling challenged or stuck in our thinking, it’s tempting to treat Best Practices as an architectural blueprint for exactly how you should or shouldn’t do something.
Ironically, when we’re feeling challenged or stuck is the worst state of mind to apply anything.
And that’s what people miss — more than following someone else’s Best Practices, the biggest keys to creating outcomes you’ve never created before are:
- Knowing how to cultivate insights on a consistent basis
- Following your instincts even when you’re not sure where they’re taking you
- Making choices about what to do or not do from clarity not confusion
- Recognizing your State of Mind in the moment influences what you’re seeing, not the other way around
The biggest predictor of successful progress is not what you do or don’t do, it’s the state of mind from which you do it.
What I’ve seen is the more new ideas I expose myself to, the more fresh ideas I get. Without really trying. It’s not an intentional practice. It’s just how the mind works. Knowing this is enough.
And that’s what the people who wrote down these best practices did, whether they realize it or not. They listened to their own guidance, had insights, took action, learned lessons, and made adjustments.
They had challenges along the way. Hit obstacles. Probably got discouraged at times. Then a fresh thought came along, and they were back in the flow.
And here’s the insight that can make all the difference for you — Then they “thought” that it was the specific actions that created the success.
What most fail to realize is it’s less about the specific actions, and more about the inner guidance that inspired those actions.
Here’s the takeaway:
When you notice yourself becoming infatuated with someone else’s best practices (or maybe even your own), STOP. You’re looking in the wrong direction. Turn inward and look to the place inside you from which those best practices emerged.
Look to the “nothingness before thought” from which everything is created.
That’s where your next insight will come from. It may be an idea you’ve never had before. It may be an idea inspired by someone else’s Best Practice. Fantastic! — to me, that’s the value of Best Practices.
Trust me, if you keep cultivating insight, the “best practices” for this moment and this context will reveal themselves to you. And when they do, resist the temptation to turn them into best practices to be followed again and again.