IMPORTANT UPDATE! Due to a tremendous amount of support for this topic we've decided to go more granular in teaching you how to implement each step of this sales approach. We are building a course to systematically guide you in successfully bringing home the contract. Only early-access registrants will get free admission.

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How I Sell SCC® to C-Suite Clients

My step-by-step process to bring home the contract.

Brought to you by:

Chris Coffey, co-Founder & Master Coach

Brandon Mergard, CEO

Thank you.

Thank you to all those that were able to participate in last week’s webinar. We have received very positive feedback and numerous questions which we will cover in a part 2.

As promised, you can find the recording and the FAQs below. If you have any questions that you would like the presenter to respond to please send them to  Now, enjoy the replay, share your feedback, and get ready for part 2.

Finally, this session focused on sales - from inbound request to contract. We are currently preparing a series on marketing that explores how to get the request with an integrated marketing communication strategy. Stay tuned for more.

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1. Send introduction email

The first step after being contacted by a prospective client is to send an introductory email. Chris uses this email to point his prospects towards valuable resources that jump start the conversation. Certified coaches have numerous email templates inside their Certified Coach Login: During your first meeting with the leader, ask if they had a chance to see the resources you sent. If yes, ask if they had any questions or response to the material. This will tell you how invested they are in vetting the coach vs. just going through the motions.

2. Review Frequently Selected Growth Areas

Ask the leader to review the most frequently selected Leadership Growth Areas. Ask, "If you could wave a magic wand and be better at any of these areas - the behaviors become a part of your DNA - what would you choose?" Give them 2-3 minutes. Reduce the list to 2 areas. This helps the prospect start thinking about their leadership, areas they'd want to improve, and even start building the commitment to making the changes they desire.

3. Conduct cost-benefit analysis

Transition to a cost-benefits dialogue by asking "What would change if you were not just better at these areas, but were recognized by others as being particularly effective?" Take note of the prospect's response. Dig deep to uncover the real value of change. For example, if the response is, "My team would be better at collaborating," ask how that would impact time-to-market, revenue-per-head, innovation, etc. Add up all the benefits to illustrate the magnitude of value that comes from effective leadership. Then ask what the costs are. Regardless of the client, the most frequent costs are time (< 1 hr/month), publicity (from involving stakeholders), and money. In the latter case, when the value is higher than the costs, you can show the prospect the ROI potential.

4. Explain process

At this point you should begin describing your coaching process. For MGSCC® certified coaches this is simple: We pick something to get better at, involve stakeholders using FeedForward, and build an action plan - then we measure the change. Inside the coach login ( there are numerous resources to aid you as well as video demonstrations of how to describe the process. Make it clear what is required and what is optional, and allow time for Q&A.

5. Review Mini-survey + After Action Reports

Where possible, turn the discussion towards the tangible, concrete outcomes of the Stakeholder Centered Coaching® method. Share mini-survey scores from your past clients (anonymized where relevant!) to show the results they can expect. Review After Action Reports from clients that demonstrate quantitative and qualitative outcomes from your coaching. Affirm them by asking again, "What if YOU were recognized by others as being measurably more effective in these areas within 6-12 months of coaching?" This type of 'is it worth it?' conversation allows a seamless transition to contracting.

6. Sign Contract

Although maintaining professional and legal contract database can be a daunting task for coaches, certified MGSCC® coaches have a number of contract templates available inside your coach login ( Review the terms with the client and edit where necessary. Although the meeting may not conclude with the finalized contract signed by all relevant parties, it can be good to get a simple contract signed stating the leader's intention to pursue coaching with you as the coach. The aim of this meeting is not to conclude the sales process, but to ensure that you and your coaching process stand out from all others in their coach pool. With strong brand recognition and competitive market positioning, Stakeholder Centered Coaching® coaches may find the contracting phase to be relatively painless as the hard part is done for you.


1. What are some common questions that come up during the first client meeting?

Clients will often jump into the hard questions such as, “How much does your coaching cost? or “How much time would I need to commit to doing this?” before you have had a chance to introduce yourself.

Do not make the mistake of jumping right into logistics when your client has nor heard about the value of your coaching yet. Set the pricing discussion until the very end after the client has gauged enough interest and understood the value that you can bring.

Redirect the focus on the client and let the client talk about what he/she would like to get out of the coaching. Walk the client briefly through the process and help him/her envision what working with you would look like. This allows the client to already “see” themselves get better.”

2. What is one common mistake you see coaches make when trying to get clients?

Many coaches will often try to take on every engagement that comes their way. One golden rule our coaches follow is “never take a bad engagement.” Determining coachability is one of the first things that is taught in Marshall Goldsmith’s stakeholder centered coaching process.

We highly encourage coaches to interview their clients just as they are being interviewed in the first chemistry meeting. This is especially important for coaches who follow Marshall Goldsmith’s “No Growth, No Pay” approach. Coaches should look out for clients who demonstrate low levels in Courage, Humility, and Discipline as this will greatly impact the coaching and your pay.

3. What is the “No Growth, No Pay” approach and how can I apply it in my own sales process?

Marshall Goldsmith is famously known for using his “No Growth, No Pay” approach with his Fortune 100 CEO clients where he only got paid when his clients saw positive results at the end of the coaching.

We typically recommend coaches use this approach for 12-month engagements as this will give the client enough time to work on and become more effective in his/her leadership growth areas.

This approach is powerful and effective in that it demonstrates the coach’s confidence in the process and drastically reduces the level of risk for the client. Alternatively, coaches can also follow the “50/50” rule where the client completes 50% of the payment upfront and the latter 50% will be determined by the end results of the coaching.

4. What are some key signs of an uncoachable client?

Clients that demonstrate lower levels of Courage, Humility, and Discipline are far more likely to be less committed, less engaged, and unwilling to get better.

There are various assessments or surveys coaches can use to measure client readiness. Marshall Goldsmith Coaches use Marshall Goldsmith’s “Readiness for Stakeholder Centered Coaching Survey.” The higher the client’s score, the more willing and ready he/she is for coaching.

5. Should coaches take pro-bono cases?

Pro-bono engagements are a great way for coaches to build their portfolio and demonstrate change. Many newly certified coaches would often take pro-bono engagements at the start of their career to collect enough tangible evidence before taking their coaching to market. We highly recommend that coaches use these opportunities to build case studies, testimonials, and measurable reports. The more you can demonstrate the change, the better.

6. How do I get the client to be more excited and committed to receiving coaching?

Sometimes it is less about the coach and more to do with the client. Change can only happen when the person is willing. This goes back to our golden rule of “never take a bad engagement.” You cannot force people to change if they are unwilling to.

One way to get clients excited about your coaching is by making the process more about them. Have the client choose the growth areas that he/she is personally invested in and walk them through what the process would like for them.

Some questions to ask to gauge their interest are:

  • What are some benefits that you will receive by becoming more effective in your growth areas?
  • How would these benefits impact your team? organization?
  • What would it mean to you if you got better at these areas?

7. How do you build a relationship with your client and close the deal?

The key to building any relationship with a prospective client is consistent follow-up. However, not all follow-ups are created equal. Clients do not want their inboxes cluttered with emails asking if whether they had read their emails. Each point of interaction (email, meeting, call, etc.) should add value to your client and help move the sales process one step closer to closing the deal.

Most clients will not be ready to make a decision even after the fourth, eighth, or tenth interaction. However, when the client is ready to make a decision, you want to make sure that you are on top of their minds.

8. How do I go about calculating my coaching fee?

One trick our coaches use is flipping the discussion back to the client or organization.

Think about it this way: “The person you told me that you believe has tremendous potential….the company is betting on her….I want you to think about her total comp at the level she is at right now….benefits, health, salary, hiring, onboarding, etc…..what would it take to replace her if she doesn’t reach the potential you think she has….what is the cost to the organization….now think about the fee you’d be willing to pay a coach if she were to reach these same results….remember “No Growth, No Pay.””

9. How can I leverage the Marshall Goldsmith brand in my marketing?

Our coaches use the “Marshall and Me” approach in their marketing and sales to demonstrate their affiliation to the organization for stronger credibility.

When asked about their offering, our coaches say, “95% of the 11,000+ leaders that we have worked with saw positive and sustainable behavioral change” The power of using “we” is that it allows the client to believe that you are a part of a bigger organization with years of experience.

10. What should coaches start doing more of to increase their chances of getting selected from C-suite clients?

Getting C-Suite clients does not happen in an instant. The first step to getting C-suite clients is to first get your foot in the organization. Be open to working with leaders across all levels and prove that you can demonstrate change. Continue to build rapport and your track record will speak for itself.

© 2020 Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching®