One of our coaches and mentors, Rich Litvin, often talks about the 4 sales in coaching.
#1 – The 1st sale is to yourself as a coach. You have to be enrolled in your own value and ability to serve others powerfully.
#2 – The 2nd sale is to the conversation. You have to connect with someone first and then enroll them into giving up their most precious resource (time) with the promise that you will help them in some way.
#3 – The 3rd sale is selling your service. And this is the sale most of us focus on. Yet this sale is predicated on the power of the previous ones.
#4 – The 4th sale is to your potential clients family, friends, advisors, etc. – anyone else they speak to before or soon after they pay you, because if your client can’t explain exactly how you’re going to help them do awesome shit, they’ll likely undermine the sale.
I love this model because it really asks you to look at how the enrollment process is a series of creations instead of building up a ton of pressure on the one big SALE. But I don’t think this model goes far enough. I think there are a few more sales that occur.
#5 – The 5th sale is about enrolling your client in their own power. You see, part of what happens in the coaching dynamic is we hold projections. Our clients want a better version of themselves, and they don’t see they have the power to change themselves so they project that power onto us. A therapist I admire once said, “At the beginning of the relationship, the client gives you all their gold. Your job is to work to give it back to them.”
Now the 5th sale is going on all the time in coaching, but it might happen before coaching even starts. When a client says no or a weak yes to coaching, often the thing standing in the way is that they’ve give you all their gold. So much of it is that they see themselves as too weak to succeed or see you as too weak to help them.
Which is why one of the things I coach around when I work with coaches on enrollment is the art of coaching beyond yes and no. This art is all about finding a way to get a good balance between the gold you’re holding for the client (which is felt as trust that you can serve them) and the gold your client holds for themselves (which is the confidence that they are coachable and things can change).
#6 – The 6th sale is helping your client sell their new selves to the people in their lives. One thing we never talk about in deep work is the tension it puts on relationships. We exist in a carefully balanced universe of survival mechanisms that are predictable and reliable to us and those around us.
As your clients change, they will have to both sell themselves on the fact that they don’t need to stay connected to everyone who is currently in their lives and they have to sell themselves as they change to the people in their lives.
As your clients do deep work they will need to learn how to enroll those in their lives to support them, understand that change is happening, and that their love isn’t dependent on that change. As my coach Jeff Riddle says: “The hardest thing about changing is leaving the other people in your life exactly where they are.”
The 6th sale is all about helping your clients do just that. The other aspect of the 6th sale is about referrals. If your client sees that what you do is powerful they may also sell those around them into the power of the work in general and the work they do with you. So making this sale not only helps your clients as they grow, it can help you as your business grows.
#7 – The 7th sale is perhaps the trickiest because it’s the sale of self reliance. No coaching relationship based on dependence can be truly powerful. If you are doing your job, your clients will leave. Not because you can’t keep serving them, but because they will need different flavors of service, and new places to project their gold as they move forward.
Much like the 5th sale this sale is always happening in the coaching relationship. And it doesn’t just end when the client ends their contract. It keeps going for as long as the client lives and if you do it well enough it can ripple out to people your clients start serving.
This sale actually starts with yourself as well. Because in order to teach this to your clients, you have to embody it with them first. You have to not be dependent on them. You have to become unattached to their success and their approval. If you don’t, your dependence will often leak into your client’s dependence on you.
This is why the 7th sale is perhaps the most deep because it’s where we can practice with ourselves and help our clients practice for themselves as well. But each sale is important.
The first sale opens the opportunity for service and the last sale keeps that service alive. You can certainly look at the sales in a sequence but you can also see how each sale comes and goes in your coaching relationship.
Take a look at how you’re doing with each sale and where you need to continue to hone your craft. Each sale offers the chance for deep transformation, no matter what the outcome, and each sale is first and foremost about your clients and not about you.
If you can remember these as a coach, not only will you be incredibly prosperous, but you will find joy in enrolling every step along the way because you will be serving powerfully with every yes, every no, and everything beyond.