While you’re looking for clients and ways to grow your business I found the guest who can share with us a magic formula on how to get you book solid for months.
It’s as simple as it’s hard. The simple thing is to set the process and repeat it over and over. The hardest part is to actually do the work. As the result, you’ll get more clients.
In this episode, Walt Hampton shares how to get more clients than you can serve.
Walt is President and Chief Operating Officer of Book Yourself Solid® Worldwide. He is a business coach, management consultant, and leadership trainer.
Founder of the Positive Leadership Academy, he is a leading authority on the application of Positive Psychology in the workplace.
He is the best-selling author of Journeys on the Edge: Living a Life That Matters, a two-time winner of the North American Book Awards. He is also the author of The Power Principles of Time Mastery: Do Less, Make More, Have Fun.
In this episode, we will cover:
- [00:22] About the episode and Walt Hampton
- [02:09] Walt shares how he started as a trial lawyer, then turned to the coaching business learning from Tony Robbins
- [03:54] How Walt being with the huge debt discovered Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid system and within 11 months built a six-figure business
- [06:06] Why it was difficult for Walt to build a coaching business on his own
- [08:06] Two simple principles of the business
- [09:14] The basics that will help you to get more clients than you can serve
- [10:52] Marketing isn’t what get more clients it creates awareness
- [13:24] As long as you follow the recipe you will get more client and your business will grow
- [14:52] How to tell what you do within 6 seconds
- [16:30] The foundation of working with the clients is always about problem and solution
- [18:37] What problems, that you can serve can Walt have as he likes photography
- [20:53] Clients will only buy when two things happened
- [21:40] Build such relationship with people so they will come to you ready to buy
- [25:17] Why niching down is better from the beginning and how to grow your business after
- [27:55] If now you serve a wide audience, but it doesn’t bring you enough money niche down
- [28:05] What to do with other tips of clients if you will focus only on one particular audience
- [30:40] The common obstacle people have when they want to get more clients, but still struggling with it
- [34:35] Where to find Walt online and learn more about Book Yourself Solid system
- [34:52] For the show notes go to marinabarayeva.com and subscribe to the Marketing for Creatives show
Two Things to Pay Attention to If You Want to Get More Clients
- Don’t get distracted. Pick the formula and follow it
- If you spend a lot of money it doesn’t mean that it will help you grow your business. Take care of people instead of wasting money
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Download podcast transcript [PDF] here:
Resources from this interview:
- Learn more about Walt Hampton on WaltHampton.com
- Check the advantages of the Book Yourself Solid System
- Follow the work of Michael Port on his site and Twitter
- Follow Walt Hampton on Twitter
Connect with Marina Barayeva:
How to Get More Clients Than You Can Serve – Interview Transcription
Walt, please tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us your long story.
My long story. All right. I thought we only had 30 minutes for you, but I’ll tell you the short version. (laughter)
Short version. (laughter)
I was trained as a lawyer. I was 30 years a trial lawyer and did corporate and commercial litigation in a law firm in the United States. I was the managing partner of that law firm. In a while I found the law to be very interesting and gratifying in many ways.
I didn’t really like the constant abrasive nature of the adversarial proceeding. It’s was a constant battle, and that was very wearing.
Along the way, I discovered this field called coaching, and through some training with Tony Robbins. I was invited to trained with his team as a coach. Which I did. And for a period of time worked for Robbins Research International as one of seventy of Tony’s Elite Level Results Coaches.
I loved the work, but being entrepreneurial in spirit I wanted to go out and do it on my own. So I did.
I went out about a dozen years ago now and began business around coaching. As I said, I loved coaching, but I found that it was very, very difficult to build a coaching business even though I had successfully built a legal practice. And I struggled. I struggled a lot.
They were a period of time where my wife, who’s my business partner and I, we were moving credit card balances from one card to another because we had so many obligations. We had two kids in private universities. We had a lot of debt. It was a very, very challenging period of time.
Then I stumbled over the work of Michael Port and the book Book Yourself Solid, and I began reading the book. I liked the ideas that I had rolled in Michael’s mentorship program and then his coaching program and learned all about Book Yourself Solid and how one can get booked solid as an entrepreneur.
Within seven months of applying the principles of Book Yourself Solid, I was able to get book solid. Within 11 months I was able to finally replace the very significant six-figure of a draw that I had been getting as a lawyer. And I became very successful and prosperous as a coach.
I also became a raving fan of Michael Port’s work, which is wonderful, wonderful work. And as I became more involved in Michael’s community, Michael reached out to my wife, my business partner Ann and I and asked if we might consider becoming an Elite Level Certified Coaches.
We both gratefully accepted that. And then we had more of a leadership role in the community, which we enjoyed.
Then about two years ago, Michael reached out to me and asked if I would be president and a chief operating officer of Book Yourself Solid worldwide. Again, which I gratefully accepted.
And the work now is to share the message of Book Yourself Solid. I also have the great privilege and opportunity of training coaches all around the world. We have nearly 300 coaches now all around the world. A wonderful training program where we teach people how to become a powerful and prosperous coach. So that’s the short story of the long story.
That’s fantastic. That was a long journey in a few sentences. You said that that was difficult for you when you started to build your coaching business and then you came to Michael and his system. Why it was difficult and what was the change?
Why it’s difficult is, and we were talking before we went live on this program, Marina, that one of the difficulties is being an entrepreneur is that it’s a lonely road. We get locked at our little silos, and unless we access bigger communities, it’s hard to grow.
So we got involved in a bigger community. The Book Yourself Solid community. Then we begin to be surrounded by other like-minded people who are on the journey. And that was wonderful. That was number one.
Number two. So often as entrepreneurs, we don’t really know what works or doesn’t work. There’s so much noise out in the internet world about this shiny toy and that shiny toy, this LinkedIn bot, this webinar program, this lead generation system. We don’t really have any idea where to focus our time and attention.
What’s beautiful about Book Yourself Solid is that it’s a system. We say it’s the fastest, easiest, and most reliable system for getting more clients than you can handle, even if you hate marketing and selling. And I hated marketing and selling. So that caught my attention.
It is a very simple system when I’m teaching it to my coaches. I called a cake recipe. When you follow the recipe, it works just a hundred percent of the time. It is a very simple direct system.
You can wake up every single day knowing exactly what you need to do in order to grow your business, and that helped. We finally had something that we could that we could follow, a formula that we could follow
You so many time mentioned ‘simple,’ ‘formulas,’ and you just grew up so high. Is there really a magic formula to get fully booked with the clients that you won’t even be able to serve them all?
Is there a formula?
Yes. It’s called Book Yourself Solid. It is. It is not complicated.
Business is not complicated. Business is really simple at its basis. It has a couple of elements.
Number one. If you want to prosper in the world as a coach, consultant, entrepreneur, figure out a problem that you want to solve and solve it. Add value. Add value to the world, and the world will respond.
Number two is to respond or is to remember that all of the businesses is about relationships, about creating, nurturing and sustaining relationships over time. Everything else is just noise around that.
Please share with us this magic formula. So as you know, for many entrepreneurs and small business owners, it’s so hard to keep up with everything, and we want more clients, we want our business to be stable, bring more money, whatever. If we would start working with you, what would you start with?
I would start with the philosophical and practical principles of Book Yourself Solid. The philosophical principles of Book Yourself Solid are that number one, there are certain people in the world that we’re meant to serve and others not so much.
And this is a really important principle because many times when we’re entrepreneurs, we want to go out in the world and try to get everybody in.
What’s true is we don’t resonate with everybody. We only resonate, we only do our very best work with a certain kind of person, a certain avatar, certain client model of a person.
So there are certain people were meant to serve and others not so much. And it’s important to realize that and give ourselves permission just to go out and look for those clients that we’re meant to serve and let somebody else take care of the other one, the not so much.
The other interesting philosophical principle of Book Yourself Solid is that Book Yourself Solid is a love story designed as a business system.
A love story designed between you and those people that you’re meant to serve. A love story between you and your business. Because if you don’t love your business, you gotta be doing something else. And potentially even a love story between you and marketing.
I didn’t think that was possible, but it ultimately became possible the practical principle of Book Yourself Solid, and this is so disruptive. The practical principle Book Yourself Solid, is that marketing doesn’t get you clients.
Everybody thinks that if you go out in the world and market, you’ll get clients. You got to do marketing, but marketing isn’t what gets you the clients. Marketing creates awareness of who you are and what you do in the world.
I hear about Marina, I’m aware. Then what happens when we become aware of somebody, we go, and we check out their foundations, their business foundation, the outward expressions of our business foundation or LinkedIn profiles, there are websites.
The potential client asks one and only one question, can this person Marina, can this person Walt help me solve my problem? Yes or No?
The research shows we have six seconds to answer that question or that person is gone forever. Can this person help me solve my problem? If the answer is fuzzy, they’re gone. If the answer is no, they’re gone. If the answer is yes, then they’re going to give us an opportunity to be invited into our worlds, and we can begin the relationship building process, building trust and credibility, building expertise with them over time.
When the time is right for the client, and when sufficient trust and credibility has been established, then that potential client will want to have a sales conversation.
It happens organically, and if we know how to price our offerings in the sweet spot and if we know how to have powerful sales conversations, we’re gonna book the business, and this happens over and over again, which is why Book Yourself Solid is a systematic way of getting more clients when you can handle, even if you hate marketing and selling.
So we do a little bit of marketing. Someone becomes aware of us. They come, and they check out our foundations. They see that we can solve their problem. They give us the opportunity to invite them into our worlds. We do some trust and credibility building.
When the time is right, when we build sufficient trust and credibility, when that potential client is ready, they’ll raise their hands and want to have a conversation, and if we know how to price the offerings and how to have that conversation, we will book the business, and it happens over and over and over again. Reliably.
You say it so simple, but in real life, it’s a little bit more difficult. Can you give us some more examples?
No. No, it’s not more difficult than that. It is that simple and I’ll tell you; it’s interesting that you say that because I’m an Ivy-educated trial lawyer. I think everything has to be complicated. When I was going through this system, I thought, oh, it’s gotta be much more complicated than this. I’d go off the track.
When I went off the track, I wouldn’t get the results and my coaches wouldn’t be bringing back. And they said, no, it’s this simple. Just do it this way. Just do it this way.
As long as I followed the recipe, I was successful. Anytime I don’t follow the recipe – I’m not successful. It is that simple. And it’s interesting that you say that. The late great Jim Rohn said, “The principles are simple. Not necessarily easy. Simple but not necessarily easy.”
We always want to tend to over-complicate things. From a foundational standpoint, Marina, if somebody comes and checks out our foundation and we have six seconds to answer the question, can this person help me solve my problem? We have to have a very simple iteration of who we help and what we do.
How would you do this? How would you tell them within six seconds?
You have to decide who your target market is and what is the problem that you solve? So my first iteration was “I help lawyers get more clients and make more money.” That’s a really simple iteration “I help lawyers get more clients and make more money.”
My business partner Ann she helps speakers and coaches write client attracting books. Here’s what most entrepreneurial wars make the mistake of doing and coaches are the worst of it.
I’m a life coach. I have 30 years of experience. I like helping people because I like helping people coach through problems. I got this certification and that certification in this. That’s all about them. It’s not about the problem you solve or for the particular person that you’re solving it and those magic six seconds, they disappear.
Sometimes it’s still difficult when you meet the person. First, you’re not always can tell if this is your target audience and second, you not always can solve the problem. Because for example, for creative entrepreneurs, there’s not always a problem, but maybe some kind of desires.
Like I’m a photographer, I do photo shoots, artists sell paintings or musicians sell music. It’s not a really painful problem there. How would you put it in the six seconds introduction? Or how would you get in touch and start working with this person as a potential client?
It is always about problem and solution. I don’t care if your toilet is spewing wastes or your tooth is hurting, or your car won’t start, or you got a problem with your heart, or you don’t know how to use a camera, or you don’t know how to use Photoshop.
It’s always a problem and solution. There’s always a problem, and there’s a solution. If you’re not solving a problem, you’re not going to have a business.
And what about that painting behind of you? Or what is that, a picture?
Yes. It’s a photo.
Why did you buy it?
Because I’m a photographer. I love photos and like photography and I collect photography, but the photographer may have had a number of problems.
The photographer may not have known how to get the contrast right in the black and white print. Or may not have known how to contact print a large format, negative. Or may not have known how to float the print in the mat or may not have known how to frame it. Or may not have known how to get it up online out into the world. Or may not have known how to get it into the gallery that I bought it from.
So there were probably many problems that the photographer had on the journey of getting that photograph onto my wall.
Yes, but what if for example, someone offers you either a service or a product like a painting. It’s for your soul, for your pleasure mostly, or some sort of entertainment like music.
Why do you buy music? What problems do you solve? How would you define your ideal client and target your audience there?
If I was a musician?
Or a photographer?
One of them.
Ok. I am a photographer.
I’m a photographer who really likes to do landscape work. I’m not a photographer who likes to do a portrait as much. That’s a very narrow area. My problems could be a wide variety of problems that I want to have solved.
- How am I going to learn to become a better landscape photographer?
- How am I going to learn to create a website that features my work?
- How am I going to learn to sell to my marketplace?
- Maybe Marina wants to buy my photography, but how am I going to find her?
Well, that’s the point. If you want to sell you stuff if you want to sell you photos even landscape photography. It is easier with people because you’re dealing with people, but landscape photography… How would he sell that? What problem do you solve?
So what problem, if you’re going to buy a photo from the Marina, what? What problem do you have?
I want to have a nice picture on my wall. I just like what you’ve done.
Yes. But you have space that you want to fill. You are somebody who appreciates photography and not necessarily an impressionist art. Maybe you like both, but maybe you liked photography. I like it more than anything.
So you are looking for somebody who produces photography, who has an aesthetic that is consistent with yours, that is worse. There are certain people we’re meant to serve and others not so much.
Our aesthetic may be the same or different, but if it’s the same, then maybe you’re my people. Maybe you’re my people because you resonate with my work, but you have a need.
Now. The problem in this situation is a first world problem. You know it’s a problem that’s happy to have.
I’ve got a beautiful home, and I have some empty space on my wall, and I want to fill it with beautiful photography. I can help you solve that problem. I have some beautiful photography that I’d love for you to hang on your wall.
And then you keep going with your relationship with the client until one moment you sell your product or service, right?
Yes. Because there are two things that are true. Clients will only buy when two things happened. Number one, they’re ready to buy.
How do you know?
Well, they’ll tell you when they’re ready to buy.
And number two, when sufficient trust and credibility have been created over time. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. So those two things have to be in place.
You say they will tell you. Will you somehow encourage them to buy or you would just sit and wait when they come and will be ready to buy?
When we’re doing this work correctly, when we’re nurturing people overtime, and we’re serving, the great Zig Ziglar said, “You’ll get everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want in life.”
So as long as we’re coming from a place of service, we’re adding value to the world. As I said to you earlier, so many times people will come organically out of our sales cycle and want to have sales conversations with us.
But it’s OK if we’re in a relationship as we are and I could say, “Wow, Marina, you have got a great place where you’re recording there. Look at the beautiful neutral colored wall behind you. I think some photography would be really nice on that. Would you like to talk about my photography?”
You can invite sales conversations, but here’s where it goes off the rails, and you and I have both had this experience. You reach out to somebody on LinkedIn, and they connect back with you and immediately they’re trying to sell you something.
We don’t like to be sold. It feels horrible because there’s no relationship there. There’s no connection there. We don’t want to be sold just by anybody. So the relationship as a condition precedent to any type of further transaction.
When you build the relationship, would you help people with anything or would you try somehow to get it related to what you do, to your service or your product?
When somebody comes into my world, they come to my website. I help entrepreneurs. My market now is a little bit long, wider. I help entrepreneurs and business professionals: coaches, consultants, lawyers, accountants. I help entrepreneurs and business professionals get more clients and make more money.
If somebody comes to my website, even though I have a website for photography, I don’t sell my photography by enlarge. I like to show it. Somebody becomes aware of Walt Hampton: by my marketing. They come to my website, they can opt in now. They’re not opting in for photography, they’re opting in for getting more clients and make more money.
So my messaging over time needs to be congruent with how I invited people into my world. If you come and opt into my website, start getting my newsletter, and I start sharing with you pizza recipes that’s not in integrity.
It’s not congruent with why you came into my world. I want my messaging. I want my nurturing. I what my relationship building to be congruent with how we began our relationship.
Basically, when you get in touch with a person, whether it’s online or offline, you’ll start from something common between two of you. And then you grow out of that same topic to different places, right? And then you bring them to the transaction.
From the strategic standpoint, we do want to be aware of that customer journey. When I’m inviting somebody into my world, it is to serve and to share. And ultimately, I want to bring them to an offer where I’m offering to provide them a service for which they will want to pay me money.
What about a lot of people tell ‘niche down,’ ‘niche down,’ focus on the small audience or small service, very, very narrow. What is your point on that?
Because as you mentioned on your website, you mention entrepreneurs, it’s quite wide community. Why didn’t you narrow it down and what would you suggest to people in this situation?
When you begin narrow is powerful. I have the luxury now doing this for more than a dozen years. When I started, it was “I help lawyers get more clients and make more money.” Lawyers.
Narrow is power. Because we know this as consumers, we know this as a sophisticated buyer. If we go out into the world and we want to consume a service, let’s just say a medical service, and we’ve got a very important cardiac issue. We look for the specialist.
If we have a particularly expensive car, we want the specialist. If we’ve got a dental problem, we want the specialists. If we’ve got a high-end kitchen that we want to be done, we want the specialist, we don’t want generalists, we know this as consumers.
As entrepreneurs, we try to go out and be all things to all people, and we ended up being very vanilla, and we end up being not much to anybody.
In the first instance, we want to be narrow. We want to be an inch wide and a mile deep. Now, as time goes by, as we get book solid that we can either decide that we want to expand horizontally or vertically in our marketplace.
We want to be vertical, we can offer… I could offer lawyers, I’m not only marketing, but I could offer them practice management. I could offer them brand strategy. I could offer them website design.
Or as I did, I began to expand horizontally to begin to serve other markets like accountants and wealth managers and coaches and other entrepreneurs.
We have the luxury. Once we’re booked solid. We cannot get book solid easily. If we’re vanilla, if we’re too many things to too many people,
What would you recommend then to those people who already serve kind of a wide audience?
Get narrow. If you’re making a ton of money, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re struggling, take a narrow audience and get specialized.
What if they have some clients in those different areas. If they narrow down what they will need to cut the other clients? Or how does it work?
That’s interesting. I’m glad you raised that. Because just because I said “I help lawyers get more clients and make more money,” doesn’t mean and it didn’t mean that if somebody came to me and said, “I know you help lawyers, but I’m a consultant, will you help me?” And that person is an ideal client. You actually like working with them. It’s OK to work with them. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can do that.
The idea of a target market is this when you have a particular target market, you know exactly where to market.
Lawyers have associations and meetings and gatherings. They have, networks and LinkedIn groups, they’ve got association meetings, they’ve got conventions and convocations. You know where to show up. You can target the market because it’s a defined group,
Basically, for those people, a good solution would be to take their wide audience, choose one where they specialize in and just put all the effort in this audience first and then to go to all of those wide other audiences, right?
Once they have the luxury of making a lot of money and serving a lot of clients the world is open.
But what happens is that so many entrepreneurs show up and they’re not making the money they want and need and they have to go back to a day job, or they suffer the entrepreneurial roller coaster, which is, you know, it’s always unpredictable. It’s up and down. And that’s not the way to do business. That’s not the way to survive. Let alone. Be free.
We come to entrepreneurship because we want freedom and flexibility not always to suffer and worry where the next client’s coming from.
From your experience coaching people to get more clients to be booked solid, what other common obstacles people face when they start working with the system when they transition and try to get more clients?
When they transitioned into working with the Book Yourself Solid system?
Either to work with the system, working with you or trying whatever. They start working with you and what problems do they usually have till they get booked solid?
Yes. Number one is we are easily distracted. I call it the STS syndrome, the shiny toy syndrome.
We go out into the Internet world, and we see somebody doing this webinar thing or that webinar thing or this lead generation thing or this pixel thing or Facebook era and they’re distracted.
What to do?
So, what to do? The thing to do is to pick one formula and settled down and do it. So that’s the number one thing is that we’re distracted by so many things. And as entrepreneurs, that’s part of our DNA is that we’re easily distracted. What are the challenges of getting focused and doing the work?
Number two is just that doing the work. Pick a reliable system and do the work. Entrepreneurship isn’t sexy. It’s work.
I have built four six plus figures successfully from scratch, and every single one of them has involved a dirty four-letter word called work. And it takes, I am sorry, years and not days or overnight to get a successful sustainable business.
It will take two or three years really for the business to feel sustainable. Entrepreneurship is an exponential curve for a long time. It goes along the X-axis looking very much like zero.
Then there’ll be a blip. And then there’ll be a blip. And then there’ll be a blip. Then there’ll be this exponential upturn. And the exponential upturn happens, but you’ve got to stay consistent it the work.
Entrepreneurs, they get discouraged, they get despondent, they get distracted, they stop doing the work. It’s having the resilience, the tenacity, the focus, the faith to stay the course. When you do that, you can enjoy extraordinary success.
I have worked with brilliant people, really educated people who don’t want to stay the course and they quit.
And I have worked with lackluster entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who don’t have necessarily the credentials or the schooling or the certification, but they got the grit, they’d got the tenacity. They stay the course and they exceed everybody’s expectations because they keep doing the work.
Any other obstacles or difficulties which we need to remember before we end the interview? What do you think?
The other obstacle is thinking that it’s more difficult than it is. Because I find that a lot of people think, “Well, you know, I’m going to spend a lot of money on a website design or spend a lot of money on advertising,” or “I need to spend a lot of money on hiring a Facebook consultant.”
I hear people wanting to throw money at stuff rather than simply to do the work. As I said to you earlier, business is simple. Business isn’t complicated.
Business is about taking care of people. It’s about serving people. It’s about having a servant’s heart. It’s about showing up in the world and adding value, solving problems, adding value, solving problems. And being out there in the world, creating, nurturing and sustaining relationships, being of deep service.
It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.
Fantastic, Walt. Thank you so much.
You are so welcome.
Please tell us how we can find more about you? More about Book Yourself Solid system.
Fantastic. Just two sources. Very focused. Very narrow. Thank you so much.
You’re so, so welcome.
Marina Barayeva is an international speaker and a host of the popular podcast Marketing for Creatives. She is known authority in helping entrepreneurs become influencers in their niche. She is a TEDx speaker, has presented to audiences in Asia and North America, and has been featured in such media as ArtPeople, CCTV, China Radio International, and others.