Lesli Bitel shares her six-figure cash flow formula – a seven-step process that you can easily implement in your own business to create a highly profitable and enjoyable coaching business.
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Highlights of this episode:
- Exciting trends in the health coaching industry
- Step 1: Connecting with potential clients
- Personal networking
- Step 2: Offer a ‘free’ next step
- Step 3: Follow up
- Step 4: Invite into the enrollment conversation
- Step 5: Move into a paid product
- Step 6: Deliver a white glove service
- Step 7: Cross-sell
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Instagram.com/leslibitel, facebook.com/CoachLesli, linkedin.com/leslibitel
Lesli Bitel, MBA, RDN, LDN, is an experienced and sought-after business strategist and coach. For the past decade, she has helped professionals in the integrative and functional nutrition fields overcome the confusion associated with the business side of creating a profitable practice. Working with nutrition functional medicine professionals, Lesli uses leading strategies to integrate multiple streams of income into their business models. She teaches the tools and techniques needed to attract and enroll highly committed, ideal clients into VIP level 1:1 programs, online courses and group programs.
Using her unique experience, Lesli has helped hundreds of top functional nutrition professionals create highly recognizable brands and profitable businesses doing the work they love.
Lesli is an RDN with specialized training in functional nutrition and has several years of experience running her own successful private nutrition practice where she specialized in intuitive/mindful eating and functional nutrition for clients suffering from neurological disorders. Additionally, she has a master’s degree in Business Administration in Global Business, and 13 years’ experience in corporate sales and marketing as a regional business director within the pharmaceutical industry.
She offers private coaching, group programs, classes, webinars, workshops, and more, from her home base where she lives outside of Chicago with her husband, two children, and their pups, Rocky and Piper. You can learn more at LesliBitel.com or instagram.com/LesliBitel or by emailing [email protected]
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Slightly edited for readability.
Di-Di Hoffman 0:03
Welcome to the BadassPreneurs Business School Podcast. If you are a life or health coach or wellness practitioner, or a healer, stick around because I share the inside scoop on running a thriving soul-satisfying online coaching practice.
Lesli Bitel 0:21
Hi, my name is Lesli Bitel and I’m a business strategist and coach at Leslibitel.com. And today we are going to be talking about my unique strategy. I’m going to be sharing what I call my six-figure cash flow formula. And this is a seven-step process that you can easily implement in your own business to create a highly profitable and enjoyable coaching business.
Di-Di Hoffman 0:52
Hi there. I’m Di-Di Hoffman, your host on a BadassPreneurs Business School podcast and I’m thrilled to introduce you to a real badass coaching business and sales expert Lesli Bitel is a business strategist and coach for health professionals. She teaches her clients to overcome the confusion associated with the business side of running a successful practice pulling from a variety of leading-edge studies. Leslie teaches the necessary tools and techniques to attract plenty of right-fit clients and to create multiple streams of income resulting in a thriving, successful and profitable coaching business. And may I just add one thing here, Leslie was a speaker at a recent badass launch tactic symposium where she gave us a really badass framework for conducting a discovery call. Lesley. Welcome to the BadassPreneurs business school podcast.
Lesli Bitel 1:51
Thank you DD. I’m so happy to be here. Thanks for the invitation.
Di-Di Hoffman 1:55
It’s awesome having you here. Basically, we’ve gotten a little glimpse of what you do for a living. So please tell us what are you most passionate about in your personal life?
Lesli Bitel 2:07
Ah, my personal life. My family? Awesome. Two kids and a husband and two fur babies. Two dogs. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So we love to travel. We’d love to hike, anything outdoors. love to be outside.
Di-Di Hoffman 2:30
And you guys are empty-nesters, as well now.
Lesli Bitel 2:33
Yes, brand new empty nesters. So, yeah, it’s been an interesting transition. I don’t know how they had happened. I really. But all of a sudden, it seems like all of a sudden, I have both of my kids in college. So I have a son who’s at Purdue, and Indiana, studying electrical engineering. And I have a daughter, who’s a freshman at University of Minnesota, studying Environmental Engineering.
Di-Di Hoffman 3:09
Let’s switch gears, you know, as you think about the future of the health coaching industry, what are you most excited about?
Lesli Bitel 3:21
Well, I think it’s just such a great time to be in the health field. I mean, the demand is never been as high. And I think from my perspective, one of the most exciting things, and kind of, I guess you would say maybe a silver lining as a result of the pandemic, which definitely, you know, threw us all for a loop. But I would say if there’s a silver lining, it’s that in terms of health care, I think it’s really increased the you know, it’s definitely just health in general is high on everyone’s radar. Right. So I think the demand is greater, and also for the practitioner and coach, we are now in a position where doing our work virtually is very acceptable. Right. Whereas before, you know, I think some of us might have been a little bit uncertain about that model. But nowadays, it’s it’s just, it’s just kind of the norm. So I love the idea that our coaches can have that freedom, right location freedom, and really be able to do the work that they love helping people but be able to do it on their terms, right. So it’s great because we don’t have to worry about you know, it reduces our overhead greatly and it increases our flexibility and freedom to be able to offer all of our services online.
Di-Di Hoffman 5:01
With that location freedom also comes a little bit of extra time freedom, because we don’t have to travel into an office, waiting for clients to come to our premises or whatever. In the same vein, looking into the future, is there anything that you have for the health coaching industry? Is there anything that you’re concerned about?
Lesli Bitel 5:27
I not for the industry, I would say not for the industry as a whole of I mean, there’s definitely challenges, of course. And I would say, really, from my perspective, as a business strategist, and coach, and really having spent, you know, many years myself in private practice, running a nutrition and coaching wellness coaching practice, I can really relate to that the challenge being, you know, we have great training, right? Really, you’ve we’re good at what we do. And most I would say, your listeners, you know, they’re in a good place, they’ve done the hard work already, in terms of getting their education, getting, you know, their training, their credentialing, the challenge is usually the business side of creating a profitable practice, right? Because that is the stuff that we don’t learn in our training programs, unfortunately. Or if we do, unfortunately, depending, I suppose, depending on the program, a lot of times the strategies aren’t all that useful. So at least that was my experience. So, you know, we come out of our training, we get our coaching certification, we’re all excited, ready to hit the ground running. And then, you know, we hang our shingle so to speak. And a lot of times we end up hearing crickets. Right. And it’s because we’ve, you know, rightly so focused a lot of our time increasing our our skill set, really focusing on our skillset our coaching skill set, which is absolutely understandable. But I would say that would be my concern is really, the, you know, that that gap, right in terms of the business side of running a profitable practice.
Di-Di Hoffman 7:34
Let’s imagine I’m your favorite cousin from South Africa. And I want to follow in your footsteps. So I’ve just completed my coaching certification. And I desperately need to generate some cash flow. But I’m totally confused and overwhelmed by all the conflicting advice out there. I don’t have a website yet. I have no email list. I’ve got no social media following. So Lesli, I need an action plan. How do I get my practice off the ground?
Lesli Bitel 8:56
Okay, I love this question. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to share six steps, maybe a few mini-steps in between just to give us some context for how to go about this. So really, okay, the first step really is connecting with potential clients. Right. So before I go into detail about the different ways to connect with potential clients, I do want to mention a really important point. And that is and sometimes this is overlooked. I do think it’s super important to revisit so like let’s say you’re, you pretty much have your niche nailed down, right, you’re you’re clear on who you’re going to serve. I would still revisit that, especially if given the scenario that you just described. So I would definitely recommend. I like to do this myself, you know, every year and I recommend that my clients do the same. Revisit your messaging, revisit your target audience Make sure that you’re on track, because sometimes we need to make some some tweaks, right? So clarify for yourself, who is it that you are wanting to serve? Who is your target audience? And I would ask, I would recommend that you ask yourselves just a few questions about that, just to ensure the viability of that target market and niche. Number one, do does your audience, do they know they have a problem? And are they motivated to solve it? Okay, do they know they have a problem? And are they motivated to solve it? And this is important, because you don’t want to invest, you know, weeks and weeks and months, maybe even years, trying to educate your audience that’s like swimming upstream, right? It’s really, really hard to do. So we, if you want to get, you know, fast results, you want to make sure that your niche, your target market, they’re ready to roll, they know they’ve got a problem, they’re motivated to solve it, they are willing to invest their resources into solving the problem that you help them solve. And you do want to make sure that they’re, you know, you can access that market as well. So you really want to think about, you know, does this target audience? Do they congregate it? Do they hang out in a certain place? Like, where can I access them? So once you’re clear, and those get in terms of your target? And right, because messaging and don’t have all the, the, what are the pain points, the problems that you help solve? And what are the results that you help your clients to achieve? Okay, so really, I would say, clarify those things. And then we can move on to really the first I would say big step in the process, which again, is connecting with potential clients. So let’s talk about that. Because honestly, TD there’s so there’s countless ways we can connect with potential clients, like so many ways, I couldn’t even begin to count. But I’m going to talk through some of my favorite ways.
Just to help everyone listening to my goal is that, you know, you each of each of your listeners law, I would like them to walk away with maybe, let’s say two to three strategies that they’d like to implement. Okay. Alright, so let’s jump in. So the first way to connect would be through your own personal contacts. Right? So I, I love this way, it’s just it’s good old fashioned networking, right? It’s taking a look at you know, it’s just maybe making a list of all the people that you know, maybe people that you’ve worked with in the past, your neighbors, your, you know, people at your, at your health club, like who just make a list and do not censor, I would just say brainstorm a list of people in your world, past your present. And, honestly, what I would recommend is that you just reach out to them and do some good old fashioned networking. And chances are really great that they know someone who could potentially use your help, right? Or they might know someone who could be a great referral source. So you just want to rekindle relationships. Because honestly, in this type of business that we’re all in, I believe so strongly that it’s relationship-based. There’s lots of great online strategies, and those are all fantastic. But at the end of the day, it does come down to relationships and trust. So that’s where I personally would start look for, you know, personal contacts, and I would just start networking with them. And I can virtually guarantee that doors will open through that strategy. So I have several other ways to connect with potential clients. Should we keep going?
Di-Di Hoffman 14:32
Okay, give us another one.
Lesli Bitel 14:35
So, all right. So basically personal connections and networking. And then I love speaking, okay, I personally love and I think it’s so incredibly effective doing I recommend that my clients all try to do some speaking events, right? So especially if you can book these events, and be able to get in front of your target audience, of course, that’s ideal. So I help all of my clients to create like a signature speech or a signature talk. So guys, when you are looking for Speaker opportunities, my recommendation is, number one, try to ensure that the audience is actually going to be your target audience, right? You do want to try to make sure to the extent you can control that. And number two, be cognizant, you don’t need to be creating like, you know, all kinds of different talks, right. So you really want to have one main talk that you deliver, maybe to write, maybe have a variation of that talk. And then once you’ve got that talk set up, I would just, I would, I try to lock it in, right? Try to get those scheduled, get people to attend. And then from that talk, you can offer a next step.
And that really brings us to really step number two in in my six step cash flow formula process. Okay. So we’re going to connect with potential clients. And again, there’s tons and tons of ways to do that. There’s paid ads, there’s, you know, again, talks, media, networking, workshops, email, internet, traffic, social media, personal, you know, networking, all of those different ways. And again, the idea here is we’re going to connect, and then we’re going to offer a next step, right? And quite often, that next step is a free offer. Right? So sometimes we say I’ve heard this called like a tape. Right. And typically, it’s free. Now, to be clear, this generally would be it would require a, like, it would require your audience to share their name and email typically, right. So it’s like an opt in, or sometimes this is called a lead magnet. So basically, we’re inviting people to maybe download a juicy free thing of some sort, right? So it could be like a website, freebie, maybe a little video series, you put together an ebook, an infographic, something along those lines that you can easily offer. And you can do this from, you know, from a talk, like I said, however, you’re getting in front of your people. But the key here is that when you get in front of people, right, connecting with potential clients, you’re offering them a next step. And typically, it’s free. All right. So that is the second step is offering, like a free offer of some sort, something really compelling. And I do want to say, Didi, it’s very important to really consider what the topic is going to be for that free thing. Because, you know, there’s a lot of options out there now. And so you just want to try to ensure that whatever topic you’re choosing you, you want it to, honestly, you want it to solve an urgent problem. And to be clear, you’re not attempting to solve the whole problem. Right? It’d be impossible in a PDF, right? It’s absolutely impossible. So what I have found is the more specific the the topic is, the the more compelling it’s going to be for the audience. It’s really interesting in that way, okay, so you do want to pick something really juicy and compelling for your free offer taste. So that’s your sock and stuff.
Now, the third step is follow up. Okay? And this is really important and quite honestly, this is often where things fall apart. To be really frank, quite often, you know, we’re like, okay, good. I got in front of my audience. Yay, I offer them a free taste great. You know, maybe they opted in, you’ve got them on your email list. And unfortunately, quite often, we kind of drop the ball between steps two and three, which is follow up. And so I to follow up and that can be done in multiple different ways. It can be done, you know, it can even be done old fashioned phone calls. It really can, you know, it could be a text, it could be an email, it could be, it could even be some kind of a, honestly, it could be even snail mail. I mean, that would be really, that would stand out in this day and age because so few people use, you know, the postal mail, but that’s a possibility as well. So bottom line, just follow up, that is really the key, it doesn’t really matter how you do it, just do it. And just check in with that person, maybe, you know, ask them, what their big takeaways were from your maybe your talk and, or the free tastes, but you just want to follow up because you want to start to develop a relationship with that person. So that’s really, step three is follow up.
So Alright, so let’s keep going, shall we, let’s go to step number four. And step number four is the you want to invite that person into what I call an enrollment conversation. And essentially, this is an opportunity, it sometimes is called a discovery call. Sometimes it’s called a clarity call, there’s a lot of different names for this process. But essentially, this is your opportunity to have some one on one time with that person. And the goal here is really to take that person on an emotional journey, so that they increase their own clarity for themselves in terms of really the cost of staying stock, you know, the cost of staying stuck and struggling on their own, maybe there they have overwhelmed or confused about, you know how to solve this problem. Maybe they’ve been struggling with it for years and years. So really, our job in that enrollment conversation is not to tell them how crummy it is to be stuck. We don’t want to do that. Instead, we want to ask them. So we’re asking really, really good questions. So that they hear themselves articulate these things, it’s much, much more powerful if we ask these questions instead of tell. So we want to help them to clarify for themselves, the cost of of staying stuck, we want to help them to get some clarity in terms of what they want instead, and how achieving that vision that they hold for themselves is going to change their lives. So we want to ask, again, really good questions to help the the potential client clarify for themselves, really those two points. And then in that enrollment conversation, once we have those two data points, you know, where they are now where they want to be, then we’re in a really good position to authentically offer a next step, which is a paid next step, right. So we position our services as the bridge to help them get from point A, which is struggling to point B, which is that transformation that they desire. So it’s, it’s a really a beautiful setup to authentically position your service as the solution to, to their, to their challenges that they’re experiencing. Okay, so I teach, you know, several steps within that enrollment conversation. And if we have time, maybe we can circle back around, but let’s keep going in terms of the these core six steps to help people, you know, kind of get a jumpstart on their businesses. So, alright, so we’ve let’s do a quick review. We’re connecting with potential clients, all kinds of different ways, however you want to get in front of your audience, we move them into a free next step, like a taste of some sort. Step three, is we do follow up, really important, always follow up so that you can actually invite them into the enrollment conversation or discovery call, right? So we go through the discovery call process. And our goal, of course, is to move them into a paid service as as the next step, right, so we want to move them into a paid without, you know, whatever is appropriate for them. We want to try to ensure that it’s a good fit, of course, and that’s all based on what your takeaways are from that enrollment conversation. So we want to move them into a paid program or service. And this could be you know, of course, one on one private work It could be maybe a group program, a mastermind, you know, depending on what you’ve got in your, in your products we have, I mean, let’s be honest, if if your main focus is one on one work, then that, of course, in my opinion, that is usually the best fit for people quite often, right? Because it really provides the highest level of service and therefore, the typically the best results, okay, so.
But if you’ve got other programs in, in your, in your product suite that by all means you want to definitely try to match, of course, consider your goals, right? If you’re trying to fill up when you think that person would be a good fit, then, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna make that recommendation accordingly. So, okay, so again, we’re moving people, potential clients from that discovery call or enrollment conversation, hopefully, hopefully, depending on how their enrollment conversation goes, you’re moving, maybe eight out of 10 of those leads into a paid program. I mean, that’s the ultimate goal, of course, depending on the quality of of lead, right. So after we move them into a paid service, then of course, we need to deliver, we need to deliver on all of our promises, right. So I like to call this the white glove service. So basically, we’re looking at, you know, impeccable, over delivery of your promises. Now, when I say over deliver, I want to be clear, this does not mean bad boundaries. Okay? To be clear, you want to really uphold your boundaries, but really provide great service. I think that’s super important and probably goes without saying, but you do you want to really do everything on your side of the street to really ensure that your client moves through your process and is happy with their results, right, everything that’s in your power. But remember, I to think this is important to mention. Ultimately, you are not solely responsible for your clients results. So it really is a kind of a balancing act. So just be sure that you’re doing what’s on your side of the street, you’re upholding your promises, you’re delivering that white glove service, you’re trying to keep that person motivated and moving through your process so that they get the results that they desire. Right. And, you know, really, one great way to do that is check ins, you know, ongoing follow up during their paid experience with you. So you want to kind of keep a pulse on how you know how they’re matriculating through the program. And, you know, just just making sure that you’re on top of it there, again, with good boundaries. Okay. So then now, this last step in this process, is actually an interesting one. And this is, this is huge, okay, I want to say, the last step in my process is basically an upsell and down, sell or cross sell. So after your client goes through that program, like let’s just say, hypothetically, they go through, let’s just say, a three month program with you. And that’s their initial commitment. You always have a next step for them. Always. Right. And I will say, this is quite often another spot where many of us drop the ball, go, oh, great, they’re finished with their program. And that’s it. So guys, please, please, please have a next step. You always have a next step for people. Okay. You can have a few different next steps in your back pocket, you know, depending on what’s a good fit for them to move forward. But essentially, let me define those terms. So an upsell would be something that is a higher level of expense, right? So it could be that you you invite that person into a higher level, maybe a VIP level program. A cross sell would be something of equal value. So perhaps they end up continuing the program as is that would that would be an example of a cross sell. A down sell would be you know, a program or some type of offer. That is less of an investment. So as an example, perhaps, perhaps you like, let’s say the person initially signed up for a three month VIP level type of coaching program, like all the bells and whistles, like the highest level program that you have in your business. So what you could do, and again, that I think this really depends on the person’s needs, so you could invite them into maybe a group mastermind, and that would most likely be a downside, right, the investment level would be a little bit lower. So that’s exactly, you know, like, in my business, once my clients complete their initial six month coaching program with me, and this is for my private clients, like the VIP level, then we always have a conversation about what’s next, right, we do a little debriefing, you know, we discuss all the amazing accomplishments that they’ve made over the past six months, and then I help them to kind of outline what are your next steps in your business development journey. And that gives me the data points, I need to, to know, what would be a good next step for them in terms of our continuation in working together. And really, depending on the client, sometimes they continue, you know, working with me privately in the exact same program. So that would be a cross sell, sometimes they are ready to, maybe they don’t need private coaching anymore. And they’re ready to move into more of that mastermind type of setup. Right? So, so I have a program for that, where, you know, it’s, it’s an exclusive little mastermind, with more advanced practitioners. And so that would be considered a down sell, because the investment level is lower than my VIP level program. So those are the steps, um, just to give everyone, you know, kind of some context, in terms of the steps that I would recommend, you know, that all of your listeners try to outline, you know, in terms of business planning, how are you going to get in front of your potential clients, I would say pick, maybe pick two or three ways, and really just focus on most ways to get in front of people, before you add on, right? So how are you going to connect with potential clients? What is that free tastes going to be? And of course, you know, there, there is some tack in terms of getting that set up. But the free taste gives you an opportunity to get people on your email list and really grow your audience. So I think that’s a very important step in all of this. Remember, step three is follow up. So you do want to follow up with people that opt in and join your email list. Then number four, is you’re going to invite people into a conversation, right, you want to invite them into an enrollment conversation, or a discovery call. Hopefully, you know, the majority of those people are going to move into the next step, which is a paid step, right? You’re going to invite them into a paid service or program, you’re going to provide that white glove service with good boundaries. And then once they complete that initial commitment, you’re then going to invite them into a next step. So there’s always a next step. That’s something again, I feel like that is something that I see a lot of coaches, it’s admit sometimes a missed opportunity, right? Where, again, quite often we think, okay, they went through the program, now they’re done well, they’re, they’re really probably never done, or at least not done for a long time. We do want to continue to find opportunities to serve our people. And, and this has been shown over and over and over again, in, you know, market research. And the philosophy with this last step is I think they say it’s 11 times more cost effective, to continue to serve your audience, as compared to always trying to go out and find a new client, right? I mean, you start to really, you’re kind of on a hamster wheel with always, always always trying to find new clients. So really a missed opportunity in many, many businesses is, you know, like, let’s just call it like a maintenance program of some sort. So I really want to make sure that that big takeaway for everyone, if you don’t have a continuation or maintenance program, I really would highly recommend thinking about what that could look like. So those are my steps.
Di-Di Hoffman 35:13
I’m totally speechless. Yeah. It’s absolutely amazing. You’ve really boiled it down. And I think the, the key critical steps that are necessary to just get one question, when you’re a new coach, and you’re starting out, your first paid offer that you make up? What’s your feelings on that? Because there are different kinds of advice on that, you know, some people say, a three month program, other say, a six month program. And in terms of the length of the program, what do you feel works best for a new coach?
Lesli Bitel 35:54
Great question. So, all right, so my recommendation is to consider, of course, I never have a straight answer. Right. I could give you a straight answer. But I like to. All right. Well, let me just I will start by saying, I think 99% of the clients I’ve worked with do a three month program. Okay. I did a three month program when I had my coaching business. In, you know, my nutrition coaching business, I should say. But really, here’s a couple of variables that I think are important to consider when deciding the duration of the program. Remember, you have to feel confident that you’re taking that person, your potential client, or your client, in this case, that your potential client from struggling, whatever their pain is to getting it that you’re able to deliver now, does it mean you’re 100%, solving their problems? Most likely not right? I would say, you know, again, that’s where the maintenance programs come in, come into play, or the continuation programs. But you do need to feel really confident that whatever duration you’re choosing, is going to give you ample time to deliver on your promises. Now, that being said, the longer the program, the higher the price point. So we do have to balance that out. Right? So honestly, well, I love the idea, like six months sounds great. It is, it’s a higher price point, it’s just it’s going to be a higher price point. So because of that, honestly, I would recommend for new coach. And here’s another little tip. Now, you can honestly, you can take this one or leave it, it’s really up to the coach. But sometimes when my clients are first starting out, and they’ve got, you know, they’ve got some discomfort around selling and this is all new to them. I like to recommend that they’ve got a backup program in their back pocket. Right? Now you do want to be careful with this. Because your risk. So first of all, if you have a backup do not put it on your website. Okay, do not. Because if you put those side by side, people will always pick the path of least resistance. Okay. So this is only pulled out kind of when, as needed, right. So like, let’s say you’re talking to a potential client on a discovery call, they really, really, really are a great fit, you really, really want to help them for whatever reason, they just cannot do the three month program, okay, and you’ve, you’ve exhausted, you know, all of your efforts. Instead of losing them. You could say, alright, let’s let’s talk about this. Let’s figure out a way to make this work. I know you want to do this, that’s really clear to me, I know you’re, you know, you’re you’re committed, you want to make these changes, I’ll tell you what I could do for you. And then you can offer that back up. But again, only do that just you have to be careful because you don’t want your smaller backup offer to cannibalize your main program. And I do think that you need to position that backup offer. You need to be honest with the person, right? It’s not the full program, but it is a great starting point. And if you really feel strongly that you want to help the person. I would be really straightforward about that. It’s a great starting point, I really want to help you. And I think this could be a good fit given you know, your constraints. So that is a long answer for I would do a three-month program.