Why you’re asking clients too many surface-level questions

By Toku

There’s a simple mistake I’ve seen a lot of coaches make when they first talk to a prospective client. They get on the phone with a prospect to talk about working together, and they ask a lot of surface-level questions about various topics. It’s like they’re looking for a hook or a piece of information they can build off of and move deeper with, and if they don’t find it within a couple of minutes, they quickly move on to another topic. 

I call this method “drilling a thousand 1-foot wells”. 

But artful coaches don’t do this. Instead of probing at different ideas in the hopes that a deep-set wound or problem will reveal itself, they build one individual 1000-ft well. They learn to go deep into one thing because they know the value of what they can find with a little bit more work. They learn to uncover the layers and layers of what’s happening for someone, searching for the core of the problem. 

So when you’re talking to a potential client don’t just jump on the first thing they offer or keep asking surface level questions looking for a problem to solve. Instead, open up the conversation, look around a little bit, and as you look for a clue of what will open that person up.

Ask about a few things, but as soon as you find something that strikes you as interesting or that the client seems to have some energy around, really start to dig deeper. And keep digging until you uncover what’s happening at a foundational level. 

Digging deep throughout the enrollment process

Most coaches know that it is essential to go deep in our initial conversations with potential clients because clients need to feel like you can provide them with something valuable or that you have a unique perspective on their situation. But not every coach applies the same mindset to their enrollment process as a whole. 

It’s imperative to facilitate deeper conversations during the whole enrollment experience because this will help you hone your process and methods, which will aid you in better enrollment and engagement. 

If you are in the middle of an enrollment process and you notice a twinge, a discomfort with something you’ve said, or something that resonates or excites a potential client, don’t treat it lightly or brush it off. So often, we don’t get very deep into those things because we’re so focused on making the sale. 

We think, “I’ll get to that later, once they’re a client.” But when we gloss over potential wells or emotional areas in pursuit of reaching the pitch part of the conversation, we often set ourselves up to trip over these later.  

So practice going deep into those conversations from the get-go. Then, bring that practice into every aspect of your enrollment process to ensure that you understand your prospective clients and that they feel understood. Spend the time with them that other people who have sold to them never did. 

Don’t be willing to brush things aside; they’ve been tricking people into brushing them aside for years, so by getting caught up in that, you’re telling them: “I’m just like other coaches you’ve tried. I’m here to make a sale.” 

This is what being a deep and powerful coach is about: uncovering what people really want and what is standing in the way for them, then figuring out a way to support them in a way that no one ever has. And this process begins from the very first conversation you have with them, not just once they’ve become a client. 

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