You can’t get more high-ticket clients even if you wanted to, because, you’re maxed out.
There are only so many hours in the day. Between marketing, administrative headaches, and actually transforming the lives of clients – you’re already at a full schedule (if not 70 hours a week).
The struggle is real.
So you look at your bank statement and you go “well, I guess that’s it then right?” (Cant get high-ticket clients anymore – you’re all maxed out!)
This is the challenge that successful coaches, advisors, consultants, and nearly all service providers that are at the top of their game, must face. Some figure out ways around it, most do not.
The reality is that nearly all high-ticket client businesses can potentially scale operations and still deliver AMAZING results to clients.
Law, Business Consulting, and Accounting firms that handle millions (sometimes billions) of dollars in annual billings know this fact. There are countless other service firms that scale beyond one man and a handful of clients and wind up employing large numbers of people.
What’s their secret? It’s not in what they sell – but it’s how they deliver the transformation their high-ticket clients want the most.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into how it works. It is not only possible to get high-ticket clients by working less, put simply, it’s how it’s done.
Option One: Hire your way to scalability
The first thing I want to point out is that law, accounting, and business firms, they “scale” by hiring more people.
Nearly all professional service firms get high-ticket clients by hiring more partners. They take the people who know how to develop their business and tie them financially and legally to their firm forever by making them partners. This is how professional service firms grow. It may be how you were thinking you would grow.
As someone who has managed law firms, and managed consulting teams, I’d advise against it. It looks like a solution, but it’s really not a way to “get high-ticket clients, work less” nirvana.
Law, accounting, and business consulting firms typically have a three-layer structure – partners who focus on business development, senior practitioners who oversee most of the work, and junior practitioners who actually do most of the work.
To scale their billings, they typically hire more junior people – who are cheap – and make them do the work. That works, and I hate to say this, because “associates” are often a dime a dozen.
Maybe that works for your business. I’m guessing for many, at the beginning at least, scaling your work through hiring more labor isn’t really an option. Even if you could afford it, you probably wouldn’t want to do it.
But here’s the thing about this option. You’re really not scaling – all you’re doing is increasing the size of your organization. To scale your business with this option, you’re just hiring more laborers. More laborers mean more revenue, presuming you can maintain the billing.
The reason why this is not scaling is that the ratio is roughly one to one. Let’s say every person who works in your firm makes 100K in revenue. As the work expands (and you get more clients), you just need to keep hiring workers so as to keep the workload balanced. That means every worker you hire should carry roughly 100K worth of business.
Meanwhile, you’re going to keep working your ass off because as you go from 5-10-15-20 employees, you will go from spending 70 hours a week doing work to 70 hours a week managing people. You wind up trading work execution for work oversight.
For many entrepreneurs, they consider this “transformation” to be worthwhile. I don’t. As my business grows, I want to work LESS time, not more in it.
Which means I can’t just hire more people as I grow. I need to have a system that allows an increasing return to scale as I add clients.
The simple obvious observation then is – I need automation.
(I’d just quickly point out as an aside: Legalzoom.com‘s success shows that even in a complicated service field such as law, a field that is heavily regulated both internally and externally, you can deliver amazing results without needing that one-on-one every step of the way.)
Option Two: Automate parts of your service business
Automation is really the only way I see to logically scale your business.
Let’s talk about where you can automate and how it works.
I like to use the example of “men’s suits,” to talk about and illustrate automation in a service business. I realize that suits are a “product,” but the analogy holds, as you’ll soon see.
There are a couple of types of suits you can buy – tailored suits “off the rack,” and bespoke suits.
Bespoke suits? Maybe you’ve never heard of the term “bespoke.”
It means a suit that is literally crafted as a one-of-a-kind for a particular client. The suit is made, largely by hand, and is the product of measuring the client’s exact dimensions. A bespoke tailor’s business development is focused entirely on how to get high-ticket clients. Unfortunately, they have to work their BUTTS OFF to make it profitable and they work alot of hours.
I suspect that sounds EXACTLY what many of you are doing for your clients. Hand tailored suits, made from the ground up, painstakingly put together with the highest quality, one hour at a time. More high-ticket clients means more hours. Period.
In this fact, lies the problem with bespoke suits – you can only make so many at one time. There are so many hours in the day. There are so many hours in a year. It takes so many hours to make one suit. Thus, for the bespoke craftsman, there are going to be only so many suits you can make in a year.
Now, “option one,” of course, says – hire more tailors. To a point, that works – you can double your revenue if you can keep two bespoke tailors busy. If you can keep three busy – even better.
Here’s the thing, your typical “Saville Row” bespoke suit can cost anywhere between three thousand to four thousand pounds (that’s about four to eight thousand dollars USD). If you buy a bespoke suit from one of the best houses, you could easily pay double (twelve to fourteen thousand dollars USD).
Bespoke shops are paid exceptionally well for their time – because they recognize the value of time. They know they only have so many hours in the day, and they make their clients pay for that fact.
If only bespoke tailoring existed, not many men would be able to obtain suits, let alone “afford them,” as there just wouldn’t be enough tailoring to meet demand.
Most people do not buy a bespoke tailored suit.
With automation, one tailor can have robots (machines) make most of the suit up front. The tailor recognizes that most of his clients have specific chest, height, and hip measurements. He looks over his records and realizes he really builds only 5 different types of suits.
That is what “option two,” is about. You build “customized off the shelf” solutions for your clients.
Two Guys Walk Into the Haberdashery
So two men walk into the haberdashery (that would be a suit store for the uninitiated). One guy is 5’7″, the other man is 6’1″.
Do they have different needs?
Not really. Nobody walks into a men’s clothing shop because one guy wants to buy a TV and the other get their car oil changed. They’re both there to buy suits.
Clearly, they need some tailoring on the suits, and you’ll need to pull different suits “off the rack” to help each man. But they both want suits. And around the edges – you can tailor the suits so that the sleeves fit, the pants fit, etc.
After a few hours of fitting and tailoring – you’ve sold two suits. Since you’re really good at what you do, you can charge a premium price. So let’s say you sold two suits for $5000. Let’s also say it took you two hours of tailoring to make the customizations. You have some men working up front to handle the customers. For the sake of this argument, let’s say you net $4000 before you’ve paid yourself (but you’ve paid everything else – the rent, the clerk, etc.).
So your effective rate is roughly two thousand dollars an hour.
Now, making suits, you charge $10,000 per suit. It takes roughly 18 hours to make a custom-crafted suit, and about 4 hours worth of fittings, in several rounds. So – when you make a BESPOKE suit, you get paid roughly $420 an hour.
See how automation is amazing?
The customer is happy because he gets a an AMAZING suit that does about 80% of the transformation he needs, and he doesn’t pay $10,000. You’re happy because thanks to how you’ve automated your business – you quintupled your effective rate, working 1/12th the time.
So How do I do this?
I’m going to use my own example to get you to start thinking about how to employ this strategy in your service business.
Clients that approach me typically have one of three problems: they’re good at closing business, but not good at generating awareness; they’re good at generating awareness, but they are awful at closing business; they’re awful at both.
The clients who are awful at both generating awareness and cannot close business, I can’t help them. They usually come to me as a last ditch effort at a miracle before going out of business.
In addition, many clients have problems that are “very difficult” for them to solve, but I look at them as routine. For example, what to charge for a product or service is something that is usually difficult for a business to figure out. For me, I have a very simple rubric of strategies that I can use to figure out what might be a good market price. Another example is how to position themselves in the market. It seems baffling to some businesses who they serve and what outcome they can provide their ideal client. For me, it’s quite easy to figure it out and I can usually just “see it” after talking to the client for a bit.
My point in all this is – there are routine problems I see over and over and over again. Moreover, every client comes to me really with one outcome they want the most.
I need to make more money in my business because of _________________ (whatever it is they want to acheive).
They want a specific outcome. They want more clients, more money, more freedom. There may be different reasons WHY they want those outcomes; there are undoubtedly different reasons they are not able to achieve those outcomes. Just like the two men who walk in both needing a suit – all my clients want the SAME outcome.
So have automated ways to guide and coach people to create they outcome they want the most.
Could I work with clients one on one? Yes, I could. I LOVE doing it actually.
But bespoke coaching is highly time-consuming and draining.
Instead, I spend most of my time working with clients in a structured program that I’ve developed, followed by “tailoring” on the edges to make sure the pants, vest, and suit coat fit. I leave the heaviest lifting of noodling what to do in their business to my clients (with my help of guiding them in a strategy of what problems to solve in what order, and how to interpret the results they get).
I can have 30 people in a group program and spend 2 hours a week in a structured lesson for those clients. I then spend 2 hours a week answering questions those students have each week.
In four hours, I’ve helped 30 people get that much closer to their amazing outcome. Versus having to spend 600 hours in bespoke coaching to get the same result.
This is how every university, college, graduate school, technical school, and skilled craft is learned. Structured programs, followed by an individual instruction period to augment what is learned.
So let’s say you do SEO services for clients. Can you use this method?
You could design a coaching program that walks through clients all the steps that you do in diagnosing SEO issues. How to think like you think, and how to do the basic things you do.
Will they be as good as you? No. And they probably won’t get the results they want either if all they did was “learn the material.”
Would you want a doctor who just studied Grey’s Anatomy to work on you? Probably not. (I certainly would not.)
But doctors do FOUR YEARS of instruction by medical school doctors. They then are still not qualified to practice medicine – but they know a tremendous amount of knowledge. They then do years of residency and training with other peers to learn how to execute their craft.
You don’t need that level of training, but your clients will need your guidance, advice, and at some times, your direct supervision. It’s much easier to “helicopter in” and provide that type of support than it is to try to do everything from the ground up.
That’s how you can scale your business.
I keep my programs limited, because ultimately what I do I believe is best served in batches of groups that I can invest my time in and keep a close eye on. The limitation is largely me – not my system.
I could hire other coaches who could similarly handle 30 or so clients. Many companies do exactly that, they hire coaches who are there to guide people through their programs. I don’t do that because I believe at the minimum, many of you expect me to impart the knowledge I’ve learned to you. Thus, I do as much automation of learning the “material” as I can, but to ensure you get the result you want most, I am there to guide how you execute your strategies. I enjoy it immensely.
That said, I cover the same amount of ground, in 1/10th the time. I would spend 30 hours a week working with 30 clients one on one. Instead, I work about two (after I create the lessons – which I see as a sunk cost.)
Clients get the results they want, and I leverage my time so that I’m not tied to my business dollar for an hour.
You CAN Get High-Ticket Clients AND work Less.
I get asked, periodically, this question: “How do I commoditize my service.”
I’ve shown you a formula how to do it. It starts by building solutions that get clients about 70-80% of the way towards the outcome they want and then helping them the last 20% so they achieve that outcome. Clients will do most of the “heavy lifting,” which leaves you to focus on ensuring they achieve the result.
But scaling your business STARTS with you. You have to think hard about the outcome you create for your client and break that down into a simple system. For you, the system is instinctive. For them, they’re going to need to start from the basics and move up. Think about what they HAVE to know to get the outcome, and use your expertise to guide them in execution.
You can build a business where you develop AMAZING results for clients in a short period of time, and they will pay you thousands of dollars, because the value you provide is amazing; the cost to you is significantly less than if you did it all yourself; and everyone is going to be much happier than they were before.