294: Working With High-Impact Customers

22 Minutes Read

If you want to grow your business, one of the best ways to do that is by selling to bigger, more sophisticated—or what we call "high impact"—customers.

It is something we've helped our clients do, and done ourselves both in our own business and in the corporate high-tech roles we've had.

But the path to selling to high impact clients isn't always easy or straightforward. It's not as simple as updating your LinkedIn profile and doubling your rates. You need to establish trust and credibility in that new market, all without alienating your existing clients and revenue streams.

In this episode, we explore some of the ways to make that leap successfully. 

You will discover:

  • How to increase your income and impact while maintaining your integrity and values
  • The role of continuing education (i.e. product improvement) in confidently charging more
  • How to use the vision for your business to fuel your shift towards higher impact clients

We also explore: creating premium products and packages, using client feedback to inform product roadmap, the importance of client communication in growing your business, authenticity in leadership, managing the fear of rejection that can come with a change in prices, and more.


Learn more about upleveling your leadership and coaching with the Superabound Coach Certification here.

Support your body and mind with the Superabound Life membership here.

If you want a coach to help you sell to high-impact customers in a vision-aligned way, we have openings for new VIP one-to-one clients. Learn more and book a consultation here.

Listen to this week's episode on Apple Podcasts here

Listen to it on Spotify here

Watch the video here

Full Transcript

Steve Haase  0:00  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches, Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where entrepreneurs and leaders learned coaching tools to help you build a magical business. You are listening to Episode 294: Working with high impact customers. If you are looking to grow your business, one of the best ways to do that is by selling to bigger, more sophisticated what we're calling high impact customers in today's episode. it is something that both Erin and I have experienced with in our own businesses and also when we've been in the corporate high tech world, in sales roles and also in leadership roles. In this episode, we go in depth into some of the things that have helped us succeed in making that leap. We've worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and leaders who also have learned to make that leap in their own business. And it can be scary, you're kind of leaving something behind and moving towards something new. And so hopefully this episode, tamps down some of that fear and gives you some things to think about. As you create your own roadmap towards working with higher impact clients, we also invite you to have a conversation with us, we'd love to hear what you're working on how you want to make that leap in your own business towards that growth and impact that you desire. We have room for several visionary meetings, we call it meeting your visionary self. And you can learn more about that and book your no cost, no pressure consultation, at besuperabound.com/consultation. Here we go. We're talking about selling to bigger customers.

Erin Aquin  1:46  
Bigger like not giants. But industry giants may be higher revenue clients, typically when you start working with high impact clients, or, you know, if you're working with managers, and then you work with executives. Usually, that also means that you are probably charging more. And

Steve Haase  2:12  
charging more is one way to grow your business without working harder. We love to help people build the business of their dreams. And that includes the life of their dreams. And so if you find yourself not really computing with the mouth, or the levers you have is what you charge. And so we're going to talk about how you can charge more, work less have a bigger impact, feel more aligned, more fulfilled all that good stuff.

Erin Aquin  2:39  
But like not in a scammy way. Yeah. Because I think integrity, yes, with integrity, that is really, really important. There's a lot of people I think out there saying, like, learn how to get seven figure clients every single month, my easy system, like really that seems questionable. Like, how, how are you doing that. So we're gonna talk about how to work with higher impact clients charge more, and maybe transition your business into a new sort of level. And doing that with integrity, in alignment with your vision and your values. So,

Steve Haase  3:17  
I mean, a lot of people, especially if you're a service provider, if you're a coach or consultant, you're going to start you just kind of hang a shingle and you hope that the people in your network will buy from you. If you're still in the business, that means that they have. And what happens there is you kind of set a level, you set a level for what you think is reasonable to charge, you set a level for who it is that you're able to work with. And I like to use the story of my trumpet teachers, they had greyhounds, and they shared that when greyhounds are being trained, they live in a kennel with a roof on it, so that like a ceiling, so they can't jump any higher than the ceiling. So then they just don't jump. But if they learned how to jump, they can jump over pretty much any wall, any, you know, any fence that they're in, because they have incredible leaping powers, right? If you've seen them run, it's unbelievable. So of course, they could also apply that force to the upward dimension, but they're trained to not apply that force upward. And so then they don't, which is what many entrepreneurs will find themselves doing is okay, I guess this is this is our level. But this is a chance to break out of that.

Erin Aquin  4:27  
Yeah, and that's really important. Because, you know, especially for what we the work we do, Superabound coaches, is what we see is when people want to grow their business, typically what they do is they try to take on more customers, they, you know, maybe don't think maybe they raise their rates a little bit, but they ultimately tried to take on more than what they're doing. And then that of course leads to burning out because if you want to double your revenue, but you have to do that by doubling the number of clients you work with If that is going to have an impact on you and your energy and your time and your team and your resources, and that is not always the best way to grow.

Steve Haase  5:12  
And so let's, we're gonna walk through what we've done to sell to bigger clients, both in our coaching business and also with the companies that we've coached to through this process and also been part of through this process. While I was at HubSpot, we did something like this. And then at Shopify, that's what my team was devoted to is selling to the larger customers. And there are some, some constants that have helped all of these businesses, including our own, make that leap, like the untrained Greyhound, from where he started,

Erin Aquin  5:49  
the retraining of the great retraining of the gray, want the Greyhound to jump,

Steve Haase  5:54  
where you started to where you want to be in the level of clients that you want to have in your business, I

Erin Aquin  6:03  
think first, I mean, you're going to talk about your sort of corporate experience, I'll talk about my entrepreneurial experience. The first kind of part of it for me as an entrepreneur, was really deciding that that was the direction and preparing my own mindset to do that. There was a point in my coaching business when I was working, I wasn't working with business owners. So their return on investment, you know, for working with me was was something intangible rather than monetary, I still think we offer a lot of amazing intangibles to our clients. But usually people who hire us to work with them, in the context of being a business owner see measurable results, they see their own revenue grow, they see more vacation time, they see more ease, they find themselves checking emails and slack less on weekends, because we sort of like build in those systems and processes that help to de drama Fie, the business. And, you know, we as we did earlier this week, with a client, helping set boundaries with customers. And a really interesting phenomenon that I have noticed is that higher impact clients, whether they are professionals who are working in a really high level, whether they're managers or business owners, these people have gotten where they are in their lives and created the success that they have. Because they actually are often operating in a mindset. That is, I don't know how I would say it without sounding judgmental, but like, it's, it's cleaner than the average human walking around. You know, we think of business as a spiritual practice and coming face to face with problems in your business or on your team gives you not only a sense of humility as a human, but also teaches you some resilience. So we're when we're working with clients at a high level, we're walking into a situation that's already pretty good, the person in front of us does not lack confidence. They know what they're capable of, they have a sense of self that is usually pretty healthy, which is much different from when I started working with with clients. And they, you know, didn't know if they could really do this. They didn't really know what they wanted, there was like, so much of the coaching was surrounding like, making huge decisions about the direction that they were going in. Whereas now when I work with my clients who have, you know, created a million dollars in revenue already this year. We are working on problems that they can solve today, not problems that are going to take them 18 months to move and how are you know, they're ready for action they're ready to do. And they are really committed to their vision because they have some, some some track behind them, knowing that they've actually gotten somewhere really beautiful. And now it's time to go somewhere new. And

Steve Haase  9:36  
so what what was the leap that you took in your evolution as an entrepreneur to go from working with folks who needed let's say, more hand holding to those that were more had more momentum?

Erin Aquin  9:50  
You know, for for the sake of integrity, it was actually deepening my own training. So it wasn't just saying you know what, I'm going to just double my rates. I'm gonna just start charging twice as much as I was charging last month, I was really careful about how and when I changed my business, when whenever we've done any kind of big rebrand of this company, it has always been thoughtful. It's always happened over time, we've done a lot of experimentation and testing. But it also always comes with deepening my own understanding. So I think that is really important. As a service provider of some kind, you know, I'm a coach. So I am constantly getting coached by my own mentors and coaches, I am constantly taking trainings and programs, I just did a program on sort of the deeper processing of emotions, that a lot of actually a lot of people in the program were therapists, and I'm not a therapist, I don't work in mental health. And so a few people were like, how does this trauma related course help you as a business coach like, why? I'm like, well, because I believe that business is a spiritual practice. And a lot of the things that hold business owners back, come from the way we've been conditioned. So I feel like it's very important for me, as a coach who charges more than a lot of other coaches to be well versed and have tools that can help any situation and my clients are going through whether it's their own internal static, or whether it's something strategic in their business. So I'm always learning about business, I'm always learning about my craft of coaching. We train coaches as well, so that we have people in our under our umbrella who can can support maybe newer entrepreneurs who aren't, you know, ready for a deeper engagement, the way that we do it. But really, I think the LEAP happened when I felt like I'm offering something unique. I'm offering something that I've really invested in, not only learning about but taking on in my own business, I, this is a personal pet peeve of mine, but I can't stand people who call themselves business coaches who've never ever in their life, owned a business or have never really actually made any money in their business. It's fine to coach humans on their mindset, whatever kind of coach you are, but to go out there and claim that you can help people make more money or help people build out their team. If you don't have any experience in that world, and you haven't done or you haven't done that successfully with people. It I just think it really like takes the knees out of our whole industry. Sorry for my little rant. But

Steve Haase  13:03  
now it's problematic.

Erin Aquin  13:05  
It's a problem for us.

Steve Haase  13:08  
I mean, one one thing that I took from what you shared there is that something

Erin Aquin  13:13  

Steve Haase  13:18  
Is that you, in order to make the leap to where you want it to be, you invested in your own abilities to support people at that higher level. And then you follow that up by changing your positioning, changing your rates changing, you know, who you accept as a client, a lot of people will actually improve their product and prove their own training, like basically bring more to the table, but will not take that leap of saying this is who I work with. These are my rates, this is what it costs to, you know, be part of this this world that I'm creating for fear that people will say no, or that they won't be good enough, right. So they'll just keep on improving what they offer without actually backing it up with charging more and changing their positioning and saying here's here's who we are for. What gives you the confidence to take that next leap?

Erin Aquin  14:29  
Hmm. I don't know. I don't know if that I don't even know if it was competence. What was it? I think it was knowing that if I really wanted to serve clients at the level I felt capable of it would have to also come with making sure that the business could be sustained. So one of the things that I also did when I made kind of that bigger leap into working primarily with leaders, business owners, Yes, I charge more. But I also limited how many people I work with. I didn't try to double my rates, and then say, I'm going to let just as many people in the door because the whole thing I wanted to create was a more hands on high touch more available, coaching space, and I wanted to come in really, really cleanly to every single session. There's nothing worse than having a coach who looks tired. Or who says, I'm so busy, I've got like six more people I have to talk to today. That doesn't feel very VIP to me. I want my clients to feel like they are the only one I am paying attention to right now. And yeah, I bring in other stories about clients, I talk about, you know, things that I've done that day, sometimes there seems to be a theme of the day when I'm coaching. But it's never. It's never to take away from what's happening for the person in front of me. And I just watched so many service providers of all industries burnout, like the really good ones who everyone wants to work with. Don't really stay at the top of their game for that long, because they just can't handle the number of people coming in. So with the rate increase, I also decreased how many people I was working with? Yeah, it's

Steve Haase  16:31  
cool that that step, which so often from the outside looks like confidence in what you're providing, or, you know, self assuredness, was actually more outwardly focused on how to successfully grow this business that you're passionate about, and that you want to have an impact in people's lives and be sustainable for the long term. And that actually has been what I've seen driving pricing increases and different positioning at software companies as well. Right, this isn't just for service providers, when when you're building a product, it's not about like charge as much as the market will bear. That's like kind of traditional economics, it's it's make sure that your company can grow in a sustainable way so that you can achieve your mission so that your customers can be happy. The HubSpot culture code was legendary, certainly within the orange walls, but also across the internet. And one of the slides said, you know, we're here to delight customers, and bankrupt companies can't delight customers. So it kind of connects the, the economic engine, to the purpose of the business. So when you consider the market that you're serving, the rates that you're charging, some of the static that comes up might be around that self confidence. Can I, you know, live up to these promises? Do I have what it takes? If you've done the training? If you really invest in if you want to have integrity? The answer is probably yes. Right? Do your own true assessment over does this live up to that next level that I want to be at? And if the answer is yes, then it will help to get your focus out of your own head and into the purpose of your company. And, and that magic that you feel when you are connecting with your customers. And when that purpose is being lived. That usually requires revenue that requires sustainable revenue for you for the business. And that could look like raising your rates. And that could look like saying no to customers that are going to cost you too much. And that really help you propel the business forward. And

Erin Aquin  18:56  
also, you know, I think there is the real fear of increasing your rates and losing customers, you will you will, people will not people don't like price increases, some people will not want to continue to work with your company when that happens. But what's really interesting is I have had a few clients who've been with me over the years who've kind of gone through the evolution of of niches and brand changes. And the I think the reason that they have stuck around is because they see the value in the work that we're doing. Someone can show up to a session with us feeling totally awful. Maybe they've lost some sleep. They have a like a what feels like a big decision to make and then within a 45 minute session, feel clear, feel relief, know that they don't have to spend the next three months mulling it over, because they absolutely know what they want to do, and how they're going to do it. That is worth a lot, especially to people who have a lot of responsibility on their plate, they don't really have time to just be mulling over decision after decision. That alone is worth it to, for someone to be engaged in that relationship. And you know, the other sort of VIP aspect that we have introduced over the years is our clients also don't have to wait till their next session to talk to us. So with our VIP clients, one of the things we offer because we're not overloaded with, you know, 10 hours of client meetings every day, we have a way for them to send us a voice note or a text and get coaching on demand, where days a week. That is something that not everybody offers. And it's something that some people offer, but I have no idea how to actually do well. It's something we have figured out how to do well. And it's an absolutely, like a beneficial sort of VIP experience for people to know that they have their coach in their pocket. And we are part of their support to you at all times. Yeah.

Steve Haase  21:32  
And so that's another thing I would offer in terms of creating your next level package is what bonuses can you bring to the table that increases the value for your for your customer? You know, not to get infomercial Lee about it. But there's a reason why they say, but that's not all right. It's like there's this special bonus. And then there's this special bonus. And then there's this, call this number now and give me your credit card, right? Like after all that value being added to the table, it makes it that much more appealing. Something about how the human mind works, right? Your job as a salesperson, as a person who is there to grow your business is to create that sense of value in the mind of your customer of your of your market. And so rather than saying, Well, this is what I've always done, I'm just going to charge more and say that it's for this next level up, what are the things that that next level up would really benefit from? And how do you add that in a way that doesn't put too much strain on your business either in terms of management, overhead delivery, cost of goods, but really make it special kind of fill out that package, so that you can feel really confident in what you're offering to that next level. And the people who are interested to kind of meet that customer criteria, find it a perfect fit as well.

Erin Aquin  23:03  
And you don't have to like wonder about this, this is something that you actually can just ask your clients. You know, it's it's really, you really don't have to be a mind reader. You might just want to say like, or notice what you're noticing, notice what everyone in your company is struggling with and create a resource for that. That's something I'm always listening to. I said that sometimes my clients on a day, people who don't know each other at all, and are in totally different industries, we'll all kind of come with a similar theme. And to me, that sort of triggers the little nudge that okay, there's a resource I can create for this. There's a podcast episode I can do. We're doing this podcast episode because we have a client right now, who is figuring out how to transition their business into working with more high end transactions. So rather than us just coach on that alone, we're also offering some of our ideas through this podcast that will benefit that point, but also for all of you as well. So that's something that we do often. And in our business, our podcast, it's for everyone, but we really specifically tailor episodes to things our clients want and need to support them

Steve Haase  24:28  
to turn on those listening ears. How can you get that client feedback on what their pains are, that you're not currently solving, that your competitors may not be doing very well? Then fill that gap with your own product development, your own business process, like what are the ways that you can fill that gap so that people are attracted to you and they feel that sense of value, connection, relationship and care

Erin Aquin  24:59  
and sometimes it isn't about giving more things, it is about actually making the process of working with you easier. So I shared that we have an app with our clients that they can communicate with us. That is to make it easier than them having to email us. I have never heard one of my clients ever say, you know, what I would really love is to get to email more. I really love emailing. Most of them, any coaching we've ever done on email is about how to get rid of emails, how to stop the emails. And so knowing that, you know, we send out emails to our community and our list and you know, we share what we're up to, we share ideas, but for our VIP clients, we have a dedicated app, where they can communicate with us whenever they need to, and it makes it seamless, and they don't have to type if they don't want to, they can just speak, speak into the phone. That is a huge value add because it doesn't require more time it doesn't require them to get back on their computer, open up email, have a whole can of worms, waiting there for them, just to get some coaching. So what is that in your business? What could that be for you, I want to also just touch on boundaries around your access is an important piece because I know someone is going to hear us say this and think I need to give my clients my phone number and let them call me at two in the morning. And it's not what we're saying the reason that we can offer, the things we offer is because we have really clear guidelines and protocols for how to communicate with us. You know, we're not rigid, or stingy with our time with our clients. But we are. The second someone signs up with us there is some guidelines about how we work with the app, we share what they can expect, how we communicate with them, we make it really clear. And that is not only an act of kindness, but it's professional.

Steve Haase  27:22  
So as you consider how you want to move forward on your quest, selling to bigger clients. I also want to encourage you not to be stymied by any perceived gatekeepers. Oh, yes. And this is often the case with higher profile clients, it's going to be a bigger organization usually might be more people involved, which means it might also be more averse to risk or conservative. The whole you never get fired for choosing us to be IBM. Now I guess it would be what Salesforce, I don't know, you don't get fired for choosing the standard player. And if you want to become one of those people in that, you know, standard player, it seems like you might have to do some of those same things. You know, some of the gatekeepers include the Gartner research company and being in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, or in the coaching world, you know, having your ICF master coach certification, you know, whatever the industry, you must do this in order to be considered by the bigger clients is, it's tempting to think, Okay, let me just go jump through those hoops so that I can actually play at this level. You don't have to do it, we're here to tell you, you don't have to, unless you want to. You can you can. Of course you can. That's like the standard way to,

Erin Aquin  28:51  
but we're not. We're not going to that's not our style. It's

Steve Haase  28:54  
not our style. And all the companies that I've worked for who have successfully done this did so because they were more rebellious, they had kind of a anti establishment streak that earned them the love of their customers. And part of that was saying, we're not going to pay to play, we're not going to, you know, pay Gartner 100 grand to be covered in their research. So we can appear in the Magic Quadrant just so that we can get a few more deals. We're going to win deals by being great. And we're going to tell a story about why we're not in that quadrant. Because you know, it's unfair, it's rigged. They put themselves up as the gatekeeper. And by the way, we're better not just because we say we are but because of all the things we've been talking about before. It's the relationship that you've built with your client. It's the trust and value that you are offering. So that yeah, there might be a little bit more static on their end because you're not officially official if you aren't, but the fact

Erin Aquin  29:58  
usually it doesn't mean anything anyway Write

Steve Haase  30:00  
the fact that you are confidently presenting yourself in that space, and you have the background to back it up is really all you need.

Erin Aquin  30:12  
Or, or if not confidently, authentically. So I would love if you could share the story of your networking event. Because something you know, as as business coaches, when we're as we're trying to kind of, we were figuring out our positioning in the world of many business coaches, many leadership coaches. It wasn't feeling Superabound-y to us, it wasn't feeling totally authentic. We had so many meetings with companies that we were interested in working with, and they were interested in working with us. But it felt like our energy had to be sort of tamp down so that we can be more corporate, whatever that means. And recently, we've kind of you may have noticed, on podcast, we've sort of thrown a lot of that out of the window, because we've come into contact with really incredible startups, really incredible leaders, really incredible professionals who want something that's a little more soulful, that are more spiritually minded, and want their businesses to be an extension of who they really are. So you can kind of share what you the feedback that you received on this because it's interesting. Yeah. So

Steve Haase  31:35  
I'm a member of the tech to community in the Toronto area. And right downtown. It's a great group of people. And I always meet new folks. And so I get lots of chances to introduce myself, say what I do. And usually it would be something like, I'm a life and leadership coach for business owners and leaders. Like, okay, cool, just

Erin Aquin  31:59  
anyone else? And doesn't tell us anything about Steve.

Steve Haase  32:03  
Yeah. And so, yesterday, we were recording another podcast, and it was really going deep. And it's like, This is it. And this is it. And like you said, and we've been having some very rich conversations with people and realizing that when we are most alive it is when we are bringing together the spiritual influence and the business acumen into something that helps people kind of break down those walls between those two dimensions of themselves. And if you don't feel like you have to demand those different dimensions, or you don't feel like there's a conflict, you might not be interested in what we have to say, but actually going there is authentic to us, and it attracts the right people and repels the people that should be elsewhere, that would find a better fit elsewhere. And so I went to the networking event and said, you know, what, our our our line of what do I do is going to bring these together. And so I shared I'm a coach, when I say I'm a coach for spiritually minded entrepreneurs and leaders who want to create a business they love. And it took a bit of courage to walk into the Rotman, you know, School of Business at University of Toronto and say, That's what I do. But we had already drawn that line in our business earlier, like we subtitled our book, live the life, the universe is dreaming for you. Why would we just be hiding this part of ourselves when we're more official and more corporate? I'm like, No way I'm leading with this now. And the response that I got from some people was, oh, oh, isn't that nice? Talk to you later. I'm like, okay, but from other people was, that is so cool. That's exactly what I'm into. That's exactly my problem. That is, I'm so interested in that. And had I been more middle of the road would not have gotten that response. And so that is where your own authenticity, about why you want to serve the people that you want to serve, not just wants to make more money. But actually, no, this is where I'm called to be present and to do my thing that is going to connect with the right people when it's coming from coming from your heart coming from your own authenticity, as a founder and leader.

Erin Aquin  34:19  
So if working with higher impact customers, if changing your positioning to be more authentic to you so that you can have the impact your business is meant to have is something that is important to you. I hope that these ideas have just helped you maybe figure out a little bit more about how you want to formulate that going forward. Make sure you keep your boundaries, make sure you know why you are doing it. There are plenty of people out there who are like just change your rate every six months just because make sure that if you are changing any aspect of your business It makes sense. And it actually feels in alignment with your vision and your values. I am all for people making more money. But I'm not for doubling prices just because with no good reason. I think that it does. I've watched it do some harm in some industries. And I think that it's really important that you back it up with your experience with your knowledge with your training, with your reasoning. And yes, a reason can be I want to serve less people, but I have a higher level, that's a valid reason, I want to take Friday's off, it is a valid reason I want my business to be fueling my life. And I want to be an example in the world of someone who is successful without burning out. So one of the reasons I do it, so I could say it like that, that is valid. So just really know your reasons, and make sure they feel aligned for you. And then get started, you know, there is no gatekeeper. If you want to change up who you work with and how you work. It's a risk, I'm not going to tell you it's not a risk, I'm not going to tell you that every single person is going to be happy with it, they won't be. But they don't have to live your life. You do. And your company is an extension of your vision, your work in the world is an extension of of your vision. And we want to help people live the life the universe is dreaming for them. And that includes you. So if you know what that is, and you feel like you're far away from it right now, maybe this today is your sign to get started on that path.

Steve Haase  36:56  
And if you want to work with us to help you towards that we do have openings for new VIP clients. We actually have a three package discovery session that we can tell you all about you get on the phone line up a consultation with us. It is a no pressure, no cost, time to get to know each other and really give you a glimpse into that future possibility and call it meeting your visionary self. You can learn all about that and book yours at besuperabound.com/consultation

Erin Aquin  37:30  
Thank you all so much. Have a great week.