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Building Your Prospect List

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Your prospect list is one of the most valuable assets in your business. It’s a list of qualified people and/or businesses that have expressed an interest in your service or product. Unfortunately, in most small businesses the prospect list is dramatically underutilised. In fact it is most likely the most wasted, dormant asset in small business.

Most businesses treat prospects as a one-time-only, static asset. They place an advertisement or run a promotion, receive enquiries, and attempt to convert those enquiries into clients, one time only. It’s a ‘now or never’ approach. And this approach costs businesses a substantial amount of money!

What is the first thing a business owner in financial trouble does? Promotes to his mailing list!! Why is that? Because when an emergency arises he suddenly realises the value residing in the list.

You Should Be Continually Exploiting Your List’s Value

Why wait until you are in financial trouble before exploiting the value in your prospect list? It doesn’t make sense does it?

Successful businesses are continuously in contact with their prospects. Unsuccessful businesses have the mindset “they won’t want to hear from me” or “they won’t buy from me if I hassle them.” We have news for you. they categorically won’t buy from you if you don’t ask them too!

The Secret to Frequently Communicating With Prospects

You should be contacting your prospects a minimum of once a week. The secret, and it’s a powerful secret, to frequent communication is giving your prospects value with every contact. Each and every contact should add-value AND give them an opportunity to buy.

Many business owners are concerned that frequent contact will threaten the relationship and diminish the chances of making a sale. That will only happen for two reasons, either 1/ you are not providing enough value in your contacts; or 2/ the prospect was never going to buy anyway!

Here are some methods of communication to consider:

  • Email
  • eZine (e-newsletter)
  • Mail/ Letters
  • Newsletters
  • Phone
  • Gifts
  • Reports
  • Articles
  • Text messages
  • e-Course

As you can see, there are many ways to maintain communication and build credibility and rapport.

A Common Case Scenario

Let’s say you want to deliver a workshop as a means to convert clients. To promote the workshop you place an advertisement in a targeted journal. The ad costs you $2,500. It attracts 40 enquiries, of which you convert 15. The workshop costs attendees $89.00. Your income is $1,335.00; and expenses $2,500.00.

Of the 15 attendees you convert 3 into your 3-month coaching program, hence making an additional $4,500.00 (3 x $1,500.00).

Your net profit from the entire exercise is $3,335.00.


When most coaches deliver a subsequent workshop, they start the process from scratch. And in most instances the subsequent workshop event is driven by a reactive need to fill more coaching spots. Hence they re-advertise, convert new leads and produce similar results.

If this process is repeated 3 times per year, your net result is $10,005.

There’s A Better Way!

By building and NURTURING your prospect list you can dramatically reduce client acquisition costs, compound your net profit, and sell additional products and services.

Case Scenario 2: A Slight Variation

Let’s review a variation of the Case Scenario above.

With a prospect list of zero, you still need to advertise for your first workshop. However, instead of ignoring the 25 unconverted leads you subscribe all leads to your eZine (electronic newsletter). Each week or fortnight you send your prospects valuable information that builds loyalty and credibility.

When you deliver your second workshop, you advertise again, but you also promote your workshop (maybe even under preferred conditions, such as offering a discount or a limited seat) to your prospect list. You receive another 40 leads from your ad and convert another 15. However, from your prospect list you also convert another 5. You now have 20 people attending your workshop, an immediate 33% increase.

This cycle will continue until you get to a point that your prospect list is large enough to fully sustain your workshop sales process. At this point your cost of acquisition of clients has reduced by your $2,500 per event advertising cost, hence putting that amount immediately back in to net profit.

IE Instead of making $10,005 net profit, you make $17,505 net profit. PLUS with a qualified, loyal prospect list you can continue to sell services and products over and over, dramatically increasing the Net Marginal Worth of clients.

This article is an abstract from the Ultimate Coaching Business Building Program (UCBBP); developed by the Life Coaching Institute and CoachIQ Coaching Club. The program is delivered to CoachIQ subscribers via weekly e-lessons, including extra resources such as Self-Assessment and Action Sheets, Links and Templates.

If you would like to build a flourishing coaching business, visit the Coaching Club website ( and take advantage of the 60-day free access offer to new members.

What is the Narrative Approach?

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The narrative approach to coaching investigates the stories that people construct in their lives to define who they are and what they do. It is the coach’s role to help clients identify stories that are limiting them from achieving their full potential and to assist in finding an alternative story that is more beneficial.

The coach has four main aims when implementing the narrative approach:

  • Search for alternative explanations
  • Search for unique outcomes
  • Encourage a future with the alternative story
  • Find ways to create an audience who will perceive and support the new story

Main Concepts

Let us look at some of the main concepts of this approach:

Dominant Stories: Dominant stories are stories in a person’s life which he or she strongly believe and have had things happen in life that have reinforced this story. They can have both positive and negative affects on the individual’s life and affect not only the present but also the future.

Stories consist of the following elements (De Jong & Berg, 2002):

  • Events
  • Linked in sequence
  • Across time
  • According to a plot

For example:

John is a successful executive to an important financial company. However, he lacks confidence in his typing ability due to situations that have occurred in the past. For example, when he was in high school he failed in a typing course.

In his first job as an administrative assistant he was always in trouble for taking too long to complete projects and he thought this was due to his typing “inability”. Now that he has his own administrative assistant he gets him to type everything for him but is finding that other tasks are not completed due to this problem.

John’s dominant story of not being able to type has been reinforced by past incidences of being told he can’t type and failing a typing course. He now reinforces this issue by getting someone else to do the typing for him. Although John’s story is quite basic, you can see how this dominant story affects his present and will also keep affecting his future.

Externalising Language: Externalising language is used in coaching to separate the problem from the person. For example, a person may say “I am a sad person”. This implies that the person has a sad quality or characteristic of sadness rather than it just being something that affects the person from time to time.

Coaches working from a narrative perspective are attuned to the language they use to represent an issue or problem in their coachees’ lives. They assume that the issue or problem is “having an effect on the person” rather than the issue or problem being an intrinsic part of who the person is.

Rather than saying “you are lacking in motivation”, a coach working from a narrative perspective may ask “when did motivation leave you?”  OR rather than say, “you are stressed” the coach may enquire, “when did stress get a hold of you?” 

Unique outcomes: Unique outcomes are situations or events that do not fit with the problem-saturated story. When searching for unique outcomes, coaches focus their attention on finding any event or experience that stands apart from the problem story – even if the situation appears to be inconsequential to the client.

Example transcript:

In this example, Ben is in year 12 and is aiming to achieve a scholarship for university. Ben doesn’t usually have a problem with motivation, but lately he just can’t seem to find the energy to study. With assistance from his coach, Ben has named his lack of motivation, “the energy-zapper”.

Here is part of the conversation that takes place between Ben and his coach.  

Coach – When did the energy-zapper first make an appearance in your life?

Ben – Hmm, well I think I first noticed him in grade 9. I went through this stage where he was turning up and zapping my energy all the time!

Coach – Was there ever a time when you were able to overcome the energy-zapper’s powers? 

Ben – Umm…yeah, once I was so behind in Maths that I just knew I had to study otherwise I would fail the next exam.

Coach – So what did you do?

Ben – Well, I guess, I just focused. I turned off the TV – I knew I had to turn off the TV – Then I thought, right I have to do this. I just have to.

Coach – And did you do it?

Ben – Yeah, you know, I did… and it really wasn’t that hard to stay focused once I got into it. I stayed up all night to study for that exam.

Coach – So the energy-zapper loses his power when you really focus your attention on something.

Ben – Yeah, I guess he does (laughs).

This conversation reveals a unique outcome for Ben.

Technique: Naming the Problem

Let’s look at one narrative approach technique called “naming the problem”. Naming the problem is used as a way to establish a sense of distance from, and control over the problem. This is a main aim of the narrative approach.

Payne (2006) has identified a number of questions you may wish to use to help the client name the problem:

“I wonder what we will call this problem.”
“Do you have a particular name for what you’re going through at the moment?”
“There are lots of things happening to you- shall we try to pin them down? What are they, what name shall we put to them?”
“I’ve been calling what they did to you ‘constructive dismissal’. Does that seem the right term to use?”
“Judging by what you say, you’ve been subject to emotional abuse. How would it feel if that’s what we called it from now on? Or perhaps there’s a better name?”

If the client has trouble coming up with a name, you could suggest possibilities.

For example:

Sam is a 25-year-old professional, who has recently been promoted to a business development position within her organisation. As part of this new role, Sam will be required to provide product information to a large number of potential customers in a conference-style presentation. Sam considers herself to be ‘nervous by nature’ and is worried that she may find this aspect of the role intimidating.

Sam and her coach have named her nervousness, the intimidator.

Building Intimacy in Relationships

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“There are times in all relationships when things are not smooth, issues arise that need to be addressed and intimacy in the relationship becomes flat and stale. Often this is because people have conflicting expectations, are distracted with other issues, or have difficulty expressing what is on their minds in ways that other people can really hear and understand. Intimacy is often the first thing to be pushed aside when there is conflict and sometimes the partners in the relationship just don’t know what to do to make the relationship more intimate again.

The goal in an intimate relationship is to feel connected in a deep spiritual way with your partner. The intimacy needs to be safe, supportive, respectful, non-punitive and peaceful; where you can feel taken care of, wanted, unconditionally accepted and loved just for existing and being alive. You feel part of something incredibly special in such a relationship and aloneness or loneliness never becomes an issue.

You experience forgiving and being forgiven with little revenge or reminding of past offences and you find yourself giving thanks for just being able to share your life with this chosen person.

A healthy intimate relationship has a sense of directedness and you experience being free to be who you are rather than who you think you need to be for the other. People’s feelings and the processes of the relationship come before material achievements and money. This type of relationship encourages your personal growth, supports your individuality and does not result in you or your relationship partner becoming emotionally, physically or intellectually dependent on one another.”

See the rest of this post here.

3 Core Elements to Sales Success

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We recently heard of an experience that strongly reiterates a very important sales and marketing message. It’s a crucial ‘secret’ that’s largely overlooked by most business people. Yet its importance permeates throughout your marketing and directly correlates to your success.

The story is a little abstract, but does relate the concept well.

The Story behind the Real Reason Young Guys Buy Big TV’s

A young guy (early 30′s) recently moved into a new condo and wanted all the latest electronics – 63″ plasma; home theatre sound; the whole 9 yards. He was referred to a guy who comes round and does the whole thing for you. He was called Tom.

The buyer told Tom what he wanted and Tom took care of it – no selling required on Tom’s part. While Tom was fitting it all, the buyer took the time to ask about all the technical questions Tom’s clients must ask.

Tom replied, “Actually, most clients are single guys like you and they really only ask me one question.”
“Oh, what’s that?” the buyer asked.
“Will it get me girls?”
“Oh. I wondered why you kept telling me how women will get excited when they saw my 63″ plasma.”

Now, here’s a guy who knows the secret. Here’s a guy who understands the difference between product and concept…

Before we go there though, to use this secret you have to understand a fundamental premise: If you owned a hot dog stand and wanted to succeed, what one element would be most important to you? High quality ingredients? Attractive store? Friendly staff? Good location? The answer: a starving crowd.

An important lesson. Obvious, BUT often overlooked!

Tom the TV guy doesn’t overlook that fundamental premise. You see, Tom doesn’t care if you were offended by what he says, because Tom knows his market and lives in the real world however sordid it might be. He’s identified the fact that single guys are his best customers (let’s face it, can many married guys get away with buying tens of thousands of dollars worth of AV equipment?)

So, having identified the fact his best customers will be single guys, he has developed a sales concept that will appeal to them: getting girls.

Tom’s product = TVs
Tom’s concept = Getting Girls

When we say the word ‘concept’, we also mean: angle/ offer/ USP. You should have heard those words in previous articles. Needless to say, Tom sells a lot of TVs.

Why does his concept work?

The same reason any successful marketing concept works… people buy things for emotional reasons, not logical ones! Once Tom tells a single guy this TV will increase the chances of him getting the girl, he’s excited about the product and his pulse is racing. The technical specifications of the TV, how much it costs etc all become incidental at this point.

This point is referred in marketing to the point of ‘magical thinking’. And by the way, the reality is (with young girls anyway) that a 63″ plasma TV WILL increase the chances of getting the girl IF that guy can get that girl home to show her.

In short, Tom is NOT lying. And neither should you.

And at the end of the day, the customer gets what he pays for: a great TV all hooked up and ready to go by a real pro who knows what he’s doing. In short, Tom is NOT selling junk. And neither should you.

This powerful secret isn’t a license to scam people; what we’re saying is that there is a hierarchy of things that need to be observed. Most businesses either prioritise these all wrong, or worse, miss out the critical element altogether: concept.

Here’s the hierarchy:

Market: A crowd of starving people. All bets are off if you’re not fishing where the fish are to begin with. You must have a starving, qualified, prospect list.

Tom’s market = single guys

Concept (angle/USP/offer): If the market is a lake full of fish, the concept is the bait on the hook. Clearly, the concept is driven by the market.

Tom’s concept = getting the girl

Product. To continue the fishing analogy, this is the fishing rod or net. If you don’t have a lake full of fish with juicy bait, you can have the best fishing equipment in the world and it won’t matter. Sure, you want the best gear (products), but observe the hierarchy. Clearly, and this is the part people can’t grasp, product should be driven by concept.

Tom’s product = Superb TVs professionally hooked up, unlimited support and advice.

How can you relate that to your own coaching business?