What Jerry Seinfeld Can Teach Us About Business Goal Setting
When Jerry Seinfeld set out to be a comedian, he gave himself a challenge to write jokes everyday for at least 30 minutes. Everyday, no matter how unfunny he felt, he would force himself to start writing jokes and then mark a big X on the calendar when he was done.
He started with one X, then two, then 15, then 30, and so on. It got to the point where his running mantra was, "Don't break the chain of Xs".
Of course, we all know how the story ends. Jerry goes on to becoming one of the most famous and highly paid comedians ever.
So, what can Jerry Seinfeld teach us about business goal setting?
Jerry Seinfeld focuses on the input, not the output.
As coaches, what can we learn from Jerry's approach to his goal of becoming a successful comedian?
The main lesson is that he focuses on the small actions that he can control (write jokes everyday) in order to achieve a much bigger goal (become a successful comedian).
Of course, writing jokes everyday does not guarantee that you will have your own hit comedy series - but it surely improves your odds. And there's a bigger benefit. For every day that he accomplished his goal of writing jokes for 30 minutes, he could celebrate a mini victory knowing he was working toward his bigger goal.
What's the coach equivalent to writing jokes everyday?
If your goal is to reliably get more clients and build a thriving coaching business, what steps can you take every day to get there?
Should you blog? Should you write inspirational quotes? What about social media? Or maybe you should be hosting workshops every month?
Which one to choose?
In all my years of helping coaches get clients, I've seen a big difference between the top coaches and everybody else in one very specific way: the most successful coaches instill confidence in prospective clients when speaking with them. And the difference is not small. It's huge.
With two years of data and thousands of client leads, I know that for every client lead the average coach turns into a paying client, one of our most successful coaches converts four times as many client leads into paying clients. That's a 400% difference.
From years of observing and talking to hundreds and hundreds of coaches, the most successful coaches are simply good at talking about coaching with just about anybody, and instilling in them the confidence that as a coach, they can help people achieve their goals and dreams.
In this interview with Chase Jackson, a relatively new coach, he shares how he connected with people at the grocery story, the local gym, and his son's school. In 14 days, he managed to introduce himself as a coach to 28 people, delivered 9 sample sessions, and got hired 3 times. I want the same (or better!) results for you.
The bottom line with marketing coaching is that no matter what tactic you use to generate coaching leads (blogging, advertising, hosting workshops), at some point in time you need to talk to clients to enrol them into your services. What you say and how you conduct yourself during those early conversations is the difference between four clients, one client, or none.
You need to get good at talking to people because coaching doesn't sell itself
I have asked around 250 people this one question, "Do you know anything about life coaching?"
To which I have gotten three kinds of answers:
- "No" (10%)
- "Sort of" (85%)
- "Yes" (5%)
In other words, 95% of people either don't know what coaching is or have a misunderstanding of what it is. The result? People don't buy what they don't understand.
The way to solve the problem of not enough people buying coaching is to give people the experience of coaching. The best way to give people the experience of coaching is to proactively invite them to have a sample session. And the best way to get good at inviting people is to practice.
What's the most important goal aspiring coaches need to set?
Goal #1: Talk to 50 friends and family in 50 days
We're going to start with an easy goal which is more about the process and less about the business outcomes.
Think of all of the people you know. Think of your neighbors, the person who cuts your hair, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. Especially if you are relatively new to coaching, how many of them a) know you're a coach and b) understand what that means? Probably not many.
So your first goal is to get out there, talk to every single one of your friends and family, and offer each of them a free sample session until you've delivered 50 sample sessions.
Why? Because you need to:
- Get good at telling people that you're a coach
- Get very good at inviting people to have a sample session
- Get extremely good at delivering sample sessions
When you take on this goal, three additional things are going to happen.
- Your friends and family are going to refer business to you because they now have a much better understanding of what you do.
- You might get some business out of it although I recommend that for the people closest to you, be transparent and tell them that you want the practice (not the business).
- You will build a huge wave of momentum for yourself to take on the next goal.
Before I present the next goal, which is really just an extension of the same goal, I want to point out the numbers for you. In order to deliver 50 sample sessions in 50 days, you'll likely need to invite 2 or 3 people per day because not everyone is going to be interested or available. But this goal is very achievable.
If you think about it, your friends and family want to help you out. You don't need to over-explain anything. A simple introduction like the following will do: "Hi cousin Brett, could you do me a favor? Last year I started this new profession called life coaching and I would like to practice delivering sample sessions. Can you spare 45 minutes?"
Goal #2: Talk to 50 More People in 50 Days
After you've delivered 50 sample sessions to your friends and family, you'll be more than ready to step out into more unfamiliar territory and confidently deliver sample sessions to perfect strangers!
So there you have it. Want to build confidence, gain momentum, and get new clients? The single, most important goal that every coach (especially new coaches) ought to take on to give their coaching business a major boost is to get out there and talk about coaching - every day!