Lately I’m seeing “bait & switch” coaching funnels.
Here’s how coaches are applying the “bait & switch”:
Dangle some precious resource, idea, or service in front of your prospect (the bait)……
to get them to commit time, money, and energy to your coaching.
Then, after the prospect has committed (and usually freed from their money)…
…give them a second rate product, resource, or coaching service (the switch).
Often this bait and switch mechanism centers
around Discovery Sessions.
The coach offers a fantastic (sounding) coaching package during a Discovery Session…
…and later provides a program that doesn’t at all reflect the “bait” they dangled.
In some cases, the Discovery Session IS the bait.
In that case, a coach claims the Discovery Session ITSELF is the solution to the client’s problem…
…only to use the Discovery Session as nothing but a sales pitch.
I recently signed up for a Discovery Session because the coach claimed it would help me get all my emails delivered to everyone’s inbox.
(I send lots of emails to lots of students and it’s a key part of my business.)
So I signed up with enthusiasm, thinking “This session is the key to
During the Discovery Session, the ‘coach’ asked me a few questions about my email situation…
…and then proceeded to pitch a $6,000 service in exchange for solving my problem.
No helpful advice or breakthrough.
Just a sales pitch from my new ‘coach’ (in retrospect, they were nothing but a salesperson).
I felt like Wile E. Coyote after the roadrunner led him off a cliff.
Since my new ‘coach’ wasn’t a credible actor…
…I broke off that ‘coaching relationship’ immediately.
And don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you can’t offer $6,000 coaching programs.
But lying about the value of ONE part of your coaching funnel…
…in order to sell ANOTHER part of your coaching?
Coaches who use that kind of bait and switch coaching funnel are shooting THEMSELVES in the foot.
I realized I had been seduced into a ONE NIGHT STAND with this coach, even though I was looking for a serious relationship.
They used all their ‘tricks’ to manipulate me for ‘one night’.
They attempted to get what they wanted (short term).
And they bailed out on me.
So, if you use ‘bait and switch’ tactics, don’t be surprised if your clients don’t stick around.
BOTTOM LINE: Don’t expect to extend a coaching relationship past the seduction…
…if there’s no SUBSTANCE behind it.
Smoke and mirrors simply don’t hold up for long.
Do you want to provide your clients with much more than a ‘one night stand’?
You still need to be ‘seductive’ enough to attract clients.
Here’s a different ‘seduction strategy’ to get clients.
It’s still exciting.
But it’s not about tricking anyone.
There’s SUBSTANCE behind my style of client seduction.
In fact, the sole purpose of my ‘seduction’ strategy is to move towards a sincere ‘marriage proposal’...
…not a ‘one night stand’.
Most of my “Slow Seduction Coaching Funnel” defies conventional marketing wisdom.
Conventional salesmanship says:
“Strike while the iron is hot. You better move fast or you’ll lose the sale.”
Instead, I slow things down.
The enrollment process isn’t about ‘making a sale’…
…it’s about making a significant impact.
The enrollment process isn’t about ‘making a sale’…it’s about making a significant impact.”
Conventional salesmanship says:
“You need to get full commitment and money from the prospect prior to giving them any real value.”
Instead, I like to give tons of value, right up front, with no obligation.
Some people will take advantage of that. Let them do that and go elsewhere.
Conventional salesmanship says:
“Lock the client into a commitment UP FRONT, and make it hard for them to escape.”
Instead, I offer lots of ‘off ramps’ throughout the enrollment process.
Conventional business practice says:
“Keep things hyper-efficient and drastically limit the amount of time and resources given to a client.”
Instead, I like to give more and more as the coaching relationship grows.
To be fair… BOTH approaches can work.
BOTH approaches can create a successful coaching business, and even successful clients.
So don’t think that I’m saying you can’t employ a variety of marketing and sales tactics to enroll clients.
The fact is: Manipulation WORKS.
That’s why so many people (coaches included) are manipulative.
The ‘slow approach’ is just MY style.
How does my ‘slow seduction’ coaching funnel work?
First Step: The ‘Coffee Date’
When you first meet someone, “going to coffee” is a comfortable and easy step.
My coaching version of the ‘coffee date’?
We have a casual call (usually around 30 minutes).
Note that this call is NOT a coaching session.
What do we do on the call?
I ask a few questions about their goals and problems, and get to know them a little bit.
There’s nothing at stake at this point…
I have nothing to sell them.
The client hasn’t committed to anything.
The ‘coffee date’ is just a chance to get to know each other.
Where’s the ‘seduction’?
The questions I’m asking help me to begin a ‘needs analysis’...
…so I can determine and recommend what next steps we might take (if any).
- “What is your #1 goal?”
- “What is your biggest challenge that gets in the way of that goal?”
- “What do you think is the solution to that challenge?”
Although I’m up front about this ‘secondary gain’ from our conversation…
…the whole ‘coffee date’ still feels like two people becoming friends.
Why wouldn’t I run a Discovery Session on the first call?
A worthy Discovery Session takes more time and energy…
…so a short, casual ‘get to know you’ allows me to limit my investment…
…prior to determining if we are a fit to work together.
THE POINT: Why waste time trying to help someone that’s not a fit?
I didn’t make this distinction early on in my coaching business.
When I first started coaching, I would spend HOURS with every single prospect…
…even when I could’ve quickly discovered that they weren’t a good fit for coaching.
Now I don’t use so much time and energy (nor do my prospective clients).
If it seems like a fit, I’ll proceed to the…
Second Step: The ‘Relationship’
Assuming that the ‘coffee date’ went well, it’s time the relationship gets serious.
The coaching version of a ‘serious relationship’?
I send a recommendation to schedule a ‘Discovery Session’.
My Discovery Session is a bit different, though.
I CHARGE for Discovery Sessions.
Because we’ve already formed a comfort level together…
…and the client has a good sense as to the value coaching might bring them.
There’s no obligation.
I don’t charge a lot of money.
But they still pay.
And the session is NOT refundable.
That way, I know my ‘date’ has some flesh in the game.
I don’t want to invest more time and energy into a ‘one sided affair’.
I’m not interested in stalking them.
What does the client get in exchange for their Discovery Session investment?
I’m going to play full out, giving whatever time is required to deliver a tremendous Discovery Session.
That Discovery Session isn’t just a sales pitch (bait and switch).
It’s a legitimate, stand-alone coaching session…
valuable by itself…
…without the need to buy anything else from me EVER.
There’s no obligation to continue into ongoing coaching after that.
In that SINGLE Discovery Session, I’m committed to change their life for the better.
And I’ll give them more value than any other conversation they’ve ever had.
BOTTOM LINE: That Discovery Session will be worth 10 times what they paid for it.
How does that work out coaching business-wise?
If I change their life for the better and they walk away…
…I know they’ll refer friends to me.
…I know they’ll talk about their coaching experience in positive ways.
…I know this Discovery Session will probably lead to further clients down the road.
…I know I got paid for my time.
…even if they never sign up for ongoing coaching.
The client feels great because they got tremendous value for their investment…
…and they feel ZERO pressure to continue with coaching.
Everybody wins!By the end of the discovery session, if I decide that ongoing coaching is what they need, I move to the…
Third Step: The ‘Marriage Proposal’
The Marriage Proposal brings a slow, seductive courtship to a sincere conclusion.
By this time in our coaching relationship, I’ve given insane amounts of value.
We’ve had at least 2 conversations (one of them being the Discovery Session).
Now it’s appropriate to make a real ‘marriage proposal’.
The coaching version of a ‘marriage proposal’?
I propose that my coaching client commits to a long-term, ongoing coaching relationship.
I propose that my coaching client commits to a long-term, ongoing coaching relationship.”
And, even though I make the ‘marriage proposal’ at the end of the Discovery Session…
…we usually set a separate, additional call, to talk about options and clarify the coaching relationship.
If they blow me off, that’s fine.
If they show up to the next call and can’t make it happen, that’s fine.
If they show up to the call, and sign up for coaching, but back out later, that’s fine.
But you know what?
By the time 90% of coaching clients arrive at THIS point…
…they agree to move forward with some form of paid, ongoing coaching.
By the time 90% of coaching clients arrive at THIS point…they agree to move forward with some form of paid, ongoing coaching.”
The downside of the ‘slow seduction’ coaching funnel?
This process takes a period of weeks (or even months) to complete.
(Partly due to my schedule being booked around 30 days in advance)
So I lost a few prospective clients along the way.
The few times a prospective client has bailed on the process…
…they tell me that they got impatient and sought out some other coach (who probably pounced on them instantly).
I wonder about the potential clients that had such urgency that they just couldn’t wait for that coaching call with me.
- Were they in such an urgent mess?
- Did they even care who their coach was?
- I wonder if they were ready for the caliber of coaching I provide?
Whatever the answer, I don’t think I lost such a great client.
Either way, when I lose a potential client to their ‘urgency reflex’…
…I usually feel like I dodged a bullet.
If it wasn’t going to be a fit to work together…
…I’d rather avoid enrolling the client in the first place.
Just working with the ‘cream of the crop’, and making sure that nobody’s wasting their time?
That works for me.
That way, my ‘tribe’ is attracted to me organically.
Anybody NOT in my tribe?
That way, they can go find what works for them.
No bait and switch.
The Slow Seduction Coaching Funnel works in several other ways:
It’s NO Pressure
I never feel like I’m pressuring, tricking, or misleading my prospective clients.
I never feel like I’m pressuring, tricking, or misleading my prospective clients.”
There’s plenty of time for me and my prospect to get comfortable creating a coaching relationship together…
A comfortable and easy enrollment process helps me get clients in another
All the people that refer clients to me?
They KNOW that whoever they refer to me will be treated well (whether or not we work together).
All their referrals have a positive, satisfying, and valuable experience with me.
I love to know that I’m providing this to both clients, partners, and other
It seems that this is what most any coach would want, right?
For the people they serve to feel comfortable sending them more and more
I mean… Why would I send you a referral…
…if I know you’re going to put them under pressure?
…if I think you’ll make them inappropriately uncomfortable?
…if I expect some kind of ‘bait and switch’?
That’s the problem with those ‘bait and switch’ tactics.
No one wants to send you clients.
Clients don’t get coaching.
Coaches don’t get clients.
Since I’m not under any pressure to enroll a client in the short term:
- I get to know them.
- I explore their world.
- I find ways to help them.
That feels great.
The client gets lots of value compared to the time and money they’ve invested…
…and they feel free to decide what’s next in their journey.
You’d be surprised at how often that pleasant coaching experience is ‘reported back’ to referral sources and partners.
I get to be myself during the enrollment process.
- No ‘used car salesperson’ vibe.
- No overly zealous marketing or promotion.
- No ‘desperate beggar’ mentality.
The client can also be themselves…
…because they know that anything they decide is ok with me (even if they
decide not to proceed with coaching).
- I honor and respect the client… exactly where they’re ‘at’.
- I accept the client for who they are (and who they’re not).
The feeling is 100% “courtship leading up to a marriage proposal”…
The client feels 0% “one night stand”.
The client feels 0% “bait and switch”.
And once I’m ‘married’ to you…
…I give you all I’ve got.
I provide amazing coaching sessions where I am 100% present with you.
I coach with every ounce of energy, answers, magic, and transformation available.
Between sessions, I send insanely valuable resources to you.
You’re constantly on my mind, so that when we’re back together in a session, I deliver even deeper support.
As a result of all that…
…my coaching clients stick around for years.
I wonder how many ‘bait and switch’ coaches…
…have 2, 3, 4, or 5 year coaching relationships with the majority of their clients?
The way I see it, when two people get married…
(if it’s really a good fit)
…that marriage lasts a lifetime.
It transforms that couple’s lives, their families, and the people around them.
The right marriage has great upside.
And so does the right COACHING marriage.
The question is…
What is it gonna take for you to attract a LIFETIME CLIENT?
What process is required to attract the best ‘marriages’ for you?
I’ve got my process.
It works for me.
And I can sleep at night… like a baby.
Jeffrey “Slow Seduction” Sooey