VIP Days: The Secret Strategy of Top-Earning Coaches
How many hours per day do you spend on the phone with clients?
If you’re like most coaches, the answer is often “more than I want to.”
Let’s face it, coaching can be exhausting. Sure, you love working with different clients, and you get a real charge out of being able to help someone overcome their issues and achieve their goals.
But it’s still taxing to be on the phone all day, every day. And add to that the need to constantly be looking for new clients, and you’ve got a recipe for burnout.
That’s why so many coaches are beginning to offer VIP days. Simply put, a VIP day is a whole day spent with a single client (or maybe two or three, depending on your preferences). Rather than jumping from call to call and trying to keep up with multiple clients and their various issues, you can simply focus on a single client and a single goal.
Even better, with coaches routinely charging as much as $10,000 for a VIP day, you can see that scheduling just 4 clients per month can bring in more than a whole week’s worth of one-on-one calls.
Here’s how VIP days work: Typically, clients will travel to your location. You might choose to meet in your home, in a rented meeting space, or in a hotel. You can also host virtual VIP days via Skype or phone, if you prefer.
Your VIP day will be tightly focused and have a single goal. If your market is online business owners and you are a genius at book writing, your VIP days might be designed to get a client to plan, outline, and begin writing her first book. If you work with working moms in search of balance in their lives, you might focus your day around creating a workable schedule for the family, with planners and other organizational tools created by the end of the day.
Your VIP clients receive the benefit of your expertise, your undivided attention (no texting with the kids during a VIP day!), and a day spent simply focusing on the task at hand. It’s a powerful way to get things done, and unlike conferences and other training programs, it encourages clients to actually do the work on site, rather than going home with a notebook full of ideas she’ll never implement.
VIP days also make for a great opportunity to upsell your client into an ongoing group coaching program. After all, she’ll likely need support after she gets back home, and regular coaching sessions with other VIP clients is a great way to get the support she needs to continue working towards her goals.
Ready to offer your own VIP days? Start by asking your current clients if it’s something they’d be interested in. Chances are they’ll give you an enthusiastic thumbs up, and you’ll be ready to start putting together a plan to offer powerful, focused VIP coaching.
Social Proof Sells: How to Build a Buzz During Your VIP Day and Sell Out Future Events
Selling anything online today requires plenty of “social proof.” Testimonials, “likes” and “shares,” re-tweets and re-grams are all ways of saying “I like this. It’s worthy of my time and money.”
For training programs, ebooks and other downloadable items, testimonials are the biggest and best tool in your toolbox. But when you’re running a live event such as a VIP day, you have other, more powerful options.
Take Lots of Photos
If your VIP day is live, remember to bring your camera along—or better yet, hire a professional photographer to document. There’s no better way to get future VIP clients excited about your offers than to show them photos of what to expect.
If you hold your event in a hotel or resort, photos of the surroundings can give it the feel of a relaxing retreat. If your event is virtual, grab some screenshots of your face-to-face video chat. This will help show that even if you don’t meet your clients in person, there is still a very real connection.
Use the photos later on your:
- Sales page
- Email newsletter
- Social media profiles
- Event flyers
Just be sure you get the appropriate model release from all your attendees before publishing their photos publicly. Nothing puts a damper on your next event quite like a cease and desist order!
During your event—while everyone is feeling enthusiastic about their business and excited for what’s on the horizon—is the perfect time to grab some meaningful testimonials. Written testimonials are fine, but if you can capture them on video, you’ll be well ahead of the competition.
Simply set up a video camera on a tripod in a quiet corner of your venue, and ask attendees to take a few minutes out of their day to share their thoughts. You could even do this on the fly with a simple cell-phone video if you like.
Hashtags are Hot
Here’s another tip for getting the word out about your VIP days: create a hashtag. Every time you post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram about your event, use the hashtag. Encourage attendees to use it as well. You can create searches using your hashtag and post the results to your sales page, your blog, or anywhere else you talk about an upcoming VIP day.
If this sounds like a lot of work for one person to manage, well, it can be. But make no mistake, social proof is critical to your success, so unless your event is super confidential, the work will pay off. If necessary, consider hiring an assistant to take the stress out of photos, testimonials and social posting. That way all your attention can be right where it needs to be, on your clients.
Planning Your Day: Why “Informal” is the Best Way to Kill Your VIP Day
Some of us like to fly by the seat of our pants. We “go with the flow,” and relish the flexibility our online, self-employed status gives us. I get it.
But when you’re planning your VIP day, freeform flexibility is the kiss of death. Your VIP day has a goal, and in order to reach it, you have to stay on track. And that, of course, requires careful planning.
Make an Appointment Schedule
Every minute of your day should be planned out, from when and where you’ll be having breakfast, to the exact minute of departure. By leaving nothing to chance, you’ll eliminate the possibility of running overtime, and never have to worry about missing an important lesson or learning opportunity.
In addition, your attendees will know exactly what to expect as well, so they can be prepared ahead of time and make the most of your day together.
A page from any appointment calendar will work for mapping out your day. Begin with the non-negotiables:
- Meal times (allow for travel if necessary)
- Check-out times (for the hotel or resort)
Next, fill in other must-have times:
- Introductions (if you’ll have more than one VIP in attendance)
- Guest speakers
- Work time (for independent or group study)
If your VIP day is actually two or three days, then you’ll also want to include time away from the main location.
This may seem like very little time is left for actual coaching, but if you keep your VIP day focused on a single outcome, it’s more than enough to give all your attendees the attention they deserve.
Publish Your Schedule
Don’t forget to share your schedule with your VIPs. Having this document in hand before they arrive will help them prepare for the event. They’ll know ahead of time what questions they want to be sure to ask, what documents or other information they should bring with them, and even what to pack.
Not only that, but planning your VIP day well in advance leaves no room for rabbit trails and other unproductive time. You want to be sure your attendees get great value from their day with you, so keeping everyone on track is important, and will make you a coaching superstar.
Weeding Out the Wannabes: How to Design a VIP Application Process That Works
Ask anyone who has ever offered coaching services before and they’ll tell you that a certain percentage of clients simply will not (or can not) do the work. Sure, they love the idea of having a coach. They might know a good coach is the secret to business and life success. But for some reason, they just aren’t ready.
Maybe they aren’t as advanced as they think they are, and they choose the wrong program.
Maybe they’re simply professional students, who never intend to build a business, but instead just like to learn about it.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you eliminate these people from your potential VIP client pool.
This is especially critical if you are hosting a group event. It will be uncomfortable for everyone if you have 4 clients attending, and 3 of them are advanced students while one is just starting out. In addition, if you only work with clients who have reached a certain level of success, you’ll need to eliminate those who simply aren’t a good fit for you.
Pro tip: The ability to pay is not a good indicator of success. Many people have (and spend) lots of money on training without ever doing the work required to get a business off the ground.
Design Your Application Process to Self-Select the Best Candidates
The easiest way to avoid clients who aren’t a good fit is to require an application before payment. This can be as simple as a PDF or email questionnaire with just a few questions. You can ask things such as:
- Who (and when) have you coached with before? What was the result?
- What exact results would you like to achieve from your coaching experience?
- What type of business do you have? Is it successful?
These will all give you a feel for the applicant, and allow you to know ahead of time if she’ll be a good fit.
But you can help eliminate applicants who aren’t a good match simply by changing some of the language on your application. For example, you might ask about the applicant’s current income, but rather than allowing her to write in any answer, give her a list of choices. If you only work with people who are earning six figures and up, then a conspicuous lack of those lower income brackets will be enough to make someone who’s just starting out think twice about applying.
You can do the same thing with language on other questions. If you only want to work with people who have a positive attitude about coaching, then you might ask, “Tell me about the best coaching experience you’ve had and what you loved about it.” Negative Nancys will have a difficult time answering that one, and you’ll be able to spot them immediately.
Even if you only invite current coaching clients to VIP days (so you already know and like them) it’s still a good idea to have some kind of application process. After all, VIP days are far more intense than a monthly coaching program, so you want to be sure all applicants know what to expect. And the best way to do that is through a formal application.
Single Focus: The Secret to Powerful VIP Days
Unlike a 3-day conference or telesummit, VIP days are generally tightly focused with a single goal. You want your client to walk away having solved her biggest business problem (or at least one that’s been holding her back for some time) and be able to jump back into work with a sense of accomplishment.
You don’t want her to go home with a head full of ideas and a notebook full of half-finished thoughts that she’ll never take action on.
Keeping your VIP day tightly focused is beneficial to you as well. Chances are you’re the go-to person in your market for one (or maybe two) things. Perhaps you’re known for helping clients break through their money issues to earn more than they ever thought possible. Or maybe you’re a genius at building an affiliate marketing empire. Or you might be the 4-hour workweek type, able to set up systems and processes that get your clients out of the office while still growing their income.
Whatever your area of expertise, by offering a VIP day centered around it, you’ll be able to command a much higher rate than a general “coach with me” kind of day where anything goes. After all, you’re the expert, so it’s time to show off your stuff.
You’ll find that attracting your ideal client is easier when your day has a strict focus as well. It might seem counterintuitive, but when you offer buyers lots of choices, they’ll often become confused, and end up buying nothing. The same is true for coaching. When faced with many ideas and potential programs, there’s a tendency to become overwhelmed.
By remaining focused, you have the opportunity to show potential clients exactly what you can help them accomplish, rather than using vague words and empty promises such as “take your business to the next level” or “overcome your roadblocks to success.”
Instead, your clients will know that after their VIP day with you, they can look forward to having a “step-by-step personalized action plan for becoming a super affiliate” or a “new attitude towards money and how it can work for you.”
Focus makes your sales page easier to write, ad targeting clearer, and testimonials more powerful, too.
Of course, all that means that you really do have to have the focus (and enough expertise) to teach for an entire day on a single subject. If you don’t feel you can pull that off, consider bringing in a guest expert who can speak about a related topic. For example, if your VIP day is all about money mindset, then a brief meeting with someone who can offer tips on budgeting would be a perfect fit.
Here’s the bottom line. The more focused your goal for your VIP clients, the more they will get out of your event. And the more value they receive, the more raving fans you’ll have, who will happily share you and your coaching programs with their friends and colleagues.