One of the coaches that I’m working with came to me after a tough sales call. My client said that her potential client left the call feeling deflated because she wasn’t sure if she could make a big investment into coaching.
What she wanted to know was, “What do I do when a client leaves a call feeling deflated?”
Even though the coach had done a good job enrolling her, when she quoted her a rate of $1000 a month, the client was forlorn. She was so excited about coaching but she wasn’t sure she could afford the coaching. She even told the coach that she was already worried that she wouldn’t be able to pay but that she wanted to try and figure out a way.
Here’s what I told her . . .
It sounds like your prospect came in ready to be deflated.
She came in worried that my client was too expensive.
She came in worried that she couldn’t make it work.
My guess is that this is a long running pattern in her life.
Obviously she isn’t my client so I can’t be 100% sure, but my guess is that there are a bunch of examples where she starts off optimistic but she knows (from experience) that optimism won’t get her that far so she prepares herself to be let down.
Anytime you offer someone the chance to commit and that commitment includes a financial investment, it’s very likely going to stir up all the stories they have about how they can’t do what they want to do, and that money or something else is going to get in the way.
When this happens it’s best to start by saying you get it and offering them a shared experience. You might say something like “Hey, I totally get it. I’ve been in the place where I’m totally excited about something I wanted to do but then when I found out what kind of commitment it was going to take I felt shut down. So if you’re feeling deflated right now, it’s totally normal. It’s happened to me with coaches I’ve wanted to hire before too.”
Then once you empathize, you can ask them if this is just a one time thing or if maybe this is a pattern for them. A pattern of wanting something, finding out what it’s going to take, and then feeling deflated.
If they see that it is indeed a pattern for them, you get to explore that pattern with them and even help them through it, if that’s what they want.
Then you can . . .
Normalize what they’re feeling and then invite them into the possibility.
Ask them: “What is deflation protecting you from?”
Then ask: “If you didn’t need protection from that, if you felt you could trust yourself to handle what came up, what might be possible?
In this way you’re helping them see the context that’s getting them stuck and helping them see one pathway forward.
But what about just avoiding deflation? Is that something we should try to do as coaches?
For me, I don’t want to be attached to how my clients are feeling or need them to get anywhere different. That can get tricky at times because of course I want my clients to feel inspired and happy, but sometimes clients need to feel deflated.
That’s why it’s so powerful to simply acknowledge their struggle and then ask them where they’d like to go next.
As you get more powerful as a coach and especially as you raise your prices, you’re going to encounter more and more people who feel inspired by your work but get hung up on the investment you’re asking them to make.
If you can learn to not take it personally, normalize it for your clients and gently create more possibility, you’re not just helping them open up to making a commitment beyond their comfort zone, you’re helping them see that possibility exists even when we can’t easily see it.