Most coaches I meet don’t charge enough. And when I say enough I mean enough to live on, create commitment that are meaningful, and be aligned with the depth of work they are offering their clients.
And most often the reason why is that they think they need to do something in order to raise their rates. They’re wrong. And here’s a list of the top 10 things you don’t need to worry about.
- Become a better coach – Yes you should always try to be a better coach. But becoming a better coach is an endless game. If you’re very new to coaching then charge less and get some experience, but if you’ve been at this a few months to a few years, have worked with a good coach and gotten some training you can probably still raise your rates.
There’s no magic ability to cash connection in the coaching business. YES better coaches sometimes make more money, so work on getting better and ALSO raise your rates. If you want to become ‘good enough’ you’ll never get there.
- Change your packages or offerings – Back when I charged $1000 a month my packages and offerings were more complex than they are now. Over the years they’ve gotten simpler and simpler. If you want to shift what you’re offering because you’ve changed or it feels aligned GREAT, but this isn’t needed to raise your rates. In fact it’s probably better to charge more for something you’ve gotten good at doing than charge more for something you haven’t worked the kinks out of yet.
- Sign more inspiring clients – I don’t really even know what this means anymore though at one time thought this was THE answer to becoming a better coach. The truth is being inspired by my clients is on me not on them. Yes it looks good on your website if you coached a king or presidential candidate, but it does NOT make you a better coach. It may make you a more well connected one, but not much else.
Some of your current clients might struggle to pay more. Some of them could pay more right now. Some of them may not even be able to ‘afford’ what you’re currently charging. New clients or more inspiring clients change nothing. If you want to raise your rates do it, the clients you serve will likely change. But clients do NOT make the coach or the higher rates.
- Update your website – My first website was horrible. Even now my website needs an update pretty bad but it doesn’t stop me from getting clients. So go ahead and update your website. But a new website has never gotten any of my client’s to pay more money. If your website is total dirt and you can afford to pay someone to help you, do it. The money will be well spent. But your website should be a reflection of your being not a fake it ‘til I make it kind of thing.
Your current website is probably fine and also a year out of date, which are the same things. Again your website should slightly follow or slightly lead your level of success. If you want to raise your rates do it. Don’t wait for a page full of copy which probably won’t change anything. Besides websites are about attraction, enrollment is about commitment. Don’t confuse the two.
- Discover some new fancy way to ‘sell’ – When I was new and charging very little for coaching I thought coaches charging $10k+ a year had some magic formula. Now that I’m a coach that makes 10x a year I can assure you there isn’t. Yes there are techniques. Yes there are different ways of being. But it’s become less and less gimmicky. The processes I learned in the past, the sales books I’ve read have helped a lot, but they never ‘fixed’ my fear. They just gave me new things to fill my mind with and ‘use’ on my prospects.
Yes you can use the techniques and methods to close sales but they are a bridge to something deeper and more meaningful. As you get better at enrollment you will increase your rates. As you increase your rates you’ll get better at enrollment. But there’s no fancy short cuts.
- Get better at ‘handling’ objections – No one likes being handled. I know I have tried to ‘handle’ people’s objections. The whole concept comes from this weird idea that sales is adversarial. It’s sort of like a psychological arms race. The prospect gets more clever at evading my tricks and I develop more ways to ‘trick’ them into buying.
Don’t trick people into buying. Support them to commit to something they want. If you try new tricks you simply get new ways of saying no. And again learning to say higher numbers with a process that already works is generally easier than trying to get more commitment from a new method.
- Pay a new coach a lot of money – This was tough to write because in truth I’ve seen the impact of this. I have hired coaches for big sums and then ended up charging more.
Here’s what’s true about it. If you get into a conversation about making a big commitment and learn to sit in the center of that tension you can empathize more with your clients as they commit. If you haven’t ever made a big commitment then you are more likely to identify with your clients as they express doubts and concerns.
They may even end up enrolling you in why they can’t do this and why the coaching won’t work (which is easier if you’ve already got some doubts about your coaching).
The problem is this isn’t a ‘FIX’. You can certainly make a big commitment to a coach and raise your rates as a result, but what matters is how you relate to that commitment. Hiring ANY coach will have a BIG impact on your ability to raise your rates, but throwing money at the problem won’t work at all.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY A COACH A BUNCH OF MONEY TO RAISE YOUR RATES!!!! Instead of worrying about the pay/pricing connection you’d be better off putting your attention on the way a coach changes your relationship to commitment. Money is one way they might do this, but it isn’t the only way and it’s not a magic bullet.
- Change your niche, the type of coach you are, or your networking sales pitch – For a while I agonzied about what I called myself as a coach. I hated the term life coach. Executive coach didn’t really capture it either. It took me a while to see that what I was really wrestling with was my identity. I was trying to answer the question WHO AM I? and it was hard.
You are already somebody as a coach. Let me say that again. YOU ARE ALREADY SOMEBODY AS A COACH. You may not know what or who that is, but it’s true. Every person I’ve ever trained has an essence as a coach that shines through. It may take time for it to emerge and working with a good coach can help it emerge. But it’s not really something you need to make up or figure out.
A niche can help you hone your marketing, a good pitch can make you memorable, but neither is likely to impact what you charge. At least not immediately and you can raise your rates without having either of these filled out.
- Make a certain amount of money or have asked for that amount before – For a while I sort of thought well I can’t say my rates are $1k a month until I’ve got some clients who are paying that. I’m sure you can see the insanity of that and yet many coaches think this. I can’t charge that until I can charge that. I can’t make that amount of money until I’m making that amount of money.
The mind does weird stuff with you. It sets a barrier to you being present to what’s possible. What you can really do. The beauty is that all you have to do is charge $1000 a month to be charging $1000 a month. And to get someone to pay you that you have to start pitching it.
The hook here is obvious and luckily the solution is too. Doing it is the way out. No one is going to give you a permission slip to raise your rates. It may take some time for you to learn how to enroll at your new rates and feel more natural saying the numbers, but you’re never going to get better by waiting to start.
- Doing anything else that you think will ‘make it easier’ to raise your rates. – If I was only going to make this a 1 item list this is the item I would choose. Before I was charging more than $50 a session for my coaching and often even now when I raise my rates I think, well when I do x then it’ll be easier to raise my rates. But the truth is that nothing really makes raising your rates easier.
Anytime you ask for more or commit to more, fear is likely going to show up. As my dear friend Adam Quiney says, “fear and possibility often show up in equal measure”. While there are many ways to work with fear there’s really no way to avoid it. Nor do I think you should try. Increasing your capacity for fear is essential to be a great coach and leader.
So instead of trying to hack or avoid fear you’d be better off accepting it and learning to work with it. If you can do this then raising your rates can just be another part of your practice to be with and hold the vastness of human experience.
Final Thoughts –
There is one thing that you can do that can help you raise your rates and that’s upgrade your commitments and who you’re being in the world. If raising your rates is just about making more money or proving yourself, it’s probably going to be harder to do. But if it’s in alignment with a bigger commitment you’ve made or the result of you doing work to deepen yourself and how you show up, then it will be easier.
That doesn’t mean it will be free from fear. In fact facing the fear of raising your rates will likely have you deepen who you are as a coach and a leader. It’s a powerful practice. Not a thing to get right or figure out, but part of the journey of becoming a master coach.