We often find ourselves in a situation where we need to pitch something, to get our audience’s ear and say, “Hey, I think this is worth your time, money, and attention.” Many people find that hard because it seems to go against all the other advice they hear about building trust, about being interested in serving your audience first. It feels contradictory to turn around and say, “Also, please pay me.” Time and again (and if you’re an AskPat subscriber you know this), that says a lot more about you and your belief in what you’re selling than it does about your audience and what they may think. If you don’t believe in how your course or book or whatever will transform someone’s life, how do you expect someone else to believe in it?
On today’s episode of AskPat, we’re joined by Tennessee therapist Gordon Brewer, who you can find at practiceoftherapy.com and on the Practice of Therapy Podcast. He’s developing a course on Teachable to help his audience learn how to manage their finances for their private practices. [Full Disclaimer: I am a compensated advisor and affiliate for Teachable.] On a recent webinar, he took the opportunity to pitch the class, but it didn’t go as well as he hoped.
I’m tempted to make a lot of therapy puns, but let’s just say that Gordon made some major breakthroughs on this episode. We cover some specific tactics that really help improve any pitch. The biggest is to think through your audience’s objections and address them preemptively. That could be opening the course up in Teachable to show just how easy it is, or it could be a story that shows your audience a person just like them who got the results they want. Instead of a “pitch,” I push Gordon to think of what he’s offering as a transformation, to focus on what it gets his audience instead of some situation where he has to sell something.
Be sure to subscribe so you can check out our next episodes, where we’ll finally get a chance to check in with people we’ve had on AskPat earlier this year. We’ll see what’s worked, where they might still be stuck, and, hopefully, see some amazing progress. Don’t miss it.
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 1094 of AskPat 2.0. You're about to listen in on a coaching call between myself and an entrepreneur just like you. And this is a big one because we got Gordon Brewer on today from the Practice of Therapy Podcast and practiceoftherapy.com. He's got a great community, a great audience. He went to pitch a product. He got people to sign up for a webinar, I think, or he got in front of his audience and he failed on the pitch. He had anxiety leading up to it and we talk about that today and how to get out of that. And I think I was able to tackle, really, the why behind the terrible pitch and then you'll hear me tell Gordon what to do and how to break through that, as well as some other best practices when it comes to actually getting comfortable selling things.
Because the truth is, especially if you actually care about your people, which is like qualifier number one, that's the most mandatory thing and Gordon obviously cares about his audience, so that was no problem. If you've got that down, you have to realize that you have something that will cause a transformation in a person's life. You're not pitching something. You're transforming people's lives and they are investing in you and this opportunity and what it is that you're offering. So we're going to talk about that today with Gordon from practiceoftherapy.com, the Practice of Therapy Podcast. Sit back and enjoy. Here we go.
Hey Gordon, welcome to AskPat 2.0 thanks so much for being here today.
Gordon Brewer: I'm so excited to be here, Pat. I've been looking forward to this for some time.
Pat: Well, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to help you. And if you could help us really quick, understand a little bit more about yourself, why don't you take a minute to share what you do and who you are?
Gordon: Yeah, I'm actually a licensed marriage and family therapist and I have a private practice in East Tennessee, Northeast Tennessee, little area of the country called the Tri-Cities, but a big part of what I need help with is I've also got a podcast and a blog. It's called the Practice of Therapy, just practiceoftherapy.com. And one of the things that I'm running into is difficulty maybe with getting the message out in a clear way so that people will really make better use of the resources I have. The podcast has just exploded and by the way, Pat, I'm absolutely loving Superfans.
Pat: Thank you.
Gordon: Yeah, I'm about halfway through the audio book, so it's really getting me to think about things in a different way. But in particular, one of the things that I'm having trouble with is I've put together a few online courses. One in particular is one on how to teach . . . is really teaching therapists that are in private practice about the whole financial side of private practice, which is something that none of us learns in graduate school. We learn a lot of great clinical stuff and how to help people, but we really don't learn about the business side of things. So, my whole purpose in doing Practice of Therapy and all of that is to help people with that. But this course in particular has just been slow to get some traction. It's an online course. I use the Teachable platform and it's probably about six, seven hours of instruction, just going into detail around the whole financial side of private practice. [Full Disclaimer: I am a compensated advisor and affiliate for Teachable.]
After I did my first webinar to try to introduce the course, I realized that I didn't spend enough time just on the pitch at the end of it and probably didn't do a good job of really explaining to people how it could be beneficial to them. But anyway, that's kind of what I was thinking about I need help with, but also, I always need lots of help in lots of other ways as well.
Pat: Yeah. But this is a good one. A lot of people have this expertise, they have this knowledge, but when it comes time to actually share it with others, sometimes there's just a misalignment there. And it's hard because you know that this has helped. Like, you are calm. I can tell this is an important thing for you to share with others. It might be the most important thing because if the finances in a practice go down, then, well, there's no practice anymore, right?
Pat: And so I'm curious to hear from your perspective. I have some ideas and thoughts and I want to ask you a number of questions, but I'm curious to know, why do you think the messaging was off point? I know you said that you didn't spend a lot of time, but was there perhaps something a little bit deeper that was holding you back from sharing how important this is?
Gordon: Yeah, I think there is. You're sounding like a good therapist about that, by the way.
Pat: Thank you.
Gordon: Yeah. Part of it was just that I didn't want to come across as too pushy or salesy with the pitch and I just kind of hit it as a high point. “Oh by the way, I've got this course available if you're interested.” But I really didn't spend, I don't think, enough time of really explaining to people what exactly is in the course and how it's going to help them. I've learned so much from you just from listening to AskPat, of course. And just all the stuff that you're doing. But that's the conclusion I came to really there after I went through that first webinar.
Pat: Yeah, I mean, this is a big issue for a lot of people who have something to sell. It's just you don't want to come off as that guy. Right? Or you don't want to come off as that girl. And we've been on the receiving end of those kinds of things and it never makes us feel good. So our biggest nightmare is to become one of them. So obviously what most people do is we go really light with the marketing of it. And like you said, you just kind of mentioned it in passing, but the number one thing to remember is that by doing it that way, by having that fear, by being scared, you're actually not giving people the opportunity to really see all that there is to offer in it.
So, on one hand, it's great because you don't want to be too aggressive, but on the other hand, going too light shows that, number one, there is actually not much confidence in what it is that you're showing and pitching. And if you aren't confident in it, what are the chances are that the person you're pitching it to is going to be confident in it? It's going to be very little chance. So, this is a mindset thing, number one. But number two, I think it might be beneficial for us to talk about it. And I think this is the other thing, we don't ever actually talk about what we're promoting until it's time to promote it. It's sometimes because we're scared to do that. It's sometimes because we're so deep into our work, we actually don't even give ourselves the opportunity to talk about it.
So, why don't we just talk it through? I want you to tell me why this course is important. What is the benefit of this course? I know you send seven hours of content, which is great, but what is this going to help me do? What is the transformation that you're selling to me? What's on the other end of this?
Gordon: Yes. So as I mentioned earlier, just one of the things that most therapists do not learn is the business side of private practice. And so when you start talking about accounting, and profit margins, and overhead, and all those kinds of things, their eyes kind of glaze over and it's like they tune out. But one of the things that is one of the number one reasons that practices fail is that they don't have—they're not prepared financially for it. So what the course does is it really teaches a lot of the basics around accounting and just really puts it in layman's terms so that those of us that aren't necessarily accountant kind of people can understand it.
But it also just walks people through different ways to set up their systems within their practice to manage the money, either from setting up QuickBooks or FreshBooks, or that sort of thing, to knowing how to price their services. [Full Disclaimer: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if your purchase through this link.] And it also goes into talking about how to diversify their practice income. You know, using things like passive income and doing courses and having groups where you can really concentrate your time by seeing several people at once rather than just the one to one, which is typically how therapy is done.
The other thing, too, that I hit on in the course is just some of the principles around Mike Michalowicz's Profit First (Amazon link), which is just a big help to people, I think, when they can get their heads around that. As a side note, I was thrilled to have Mike Michalowicz on my podcast, which was cool. [Full Disclaimer: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if your purchase through this link.]
Pat: Wow, congrats. That's huge.
Gordon: But anyway, that's basically what the course does and what I think it would really help people do is just feel confident about their finances. Even if they feel like they're struggling now, I think they'll be able to get a handle on it so that they know they have a clear plan of how they're going to get ahead and grow their practice and be financially sustainable and to be in it for the long haul.
Pat: I love everything you're saying and I think that when you relisten to this, you're going to be able to unpack a lot of what should be said when you are pitching. I don't know how is that versus what you pitched in front of your audience. You sounded very natural, you sounded very confident.
Gordon: Yeah, and it felt better and that you're exactly right. This is what I need to be doing with my next webinar is spending that time talking about those things. One of the things I've noticed on one of your webinars, I forget which course it was you were introducing, but you actually took people through the page of the Teachable page with all the the course outline, which I think is something I definitely need to do as well.
Pat: Yeah, that's just a small little tactic because, especially with an online course, especially in your niche, which is likely they're not used to taking online courses, they may like to see what they're going to get before they get it. Because it could be overwhelming, just the idea of an online course before you even talk about what's in it, can be overwhelming. So to go, “Here's how simple it is to use,” and the beauty of Teachable is it is simple to use. You always pick up where you left off. “Here's what a lesson looks like.” Showing that helps remove a lot of the “What's in here?” things that can hold people back from making a decision.
A couple things I would love for you to do. I will send you this recording before people are able to listen to it. So if you're all listening to this right now, Gordon will have already done these exercises. But I would love for you to relisten to sort of your pitch to me and just . . . It's going to be uncomfortable. It's always uncomfortable listening to ourselves, right? But again, the reason why I just said, “Hey, just tell me what's in it and how is it going to transform me?” Because that's what you are offering to your audience. When it turns into a “pitch” and you know it's leading to this big ask at the end, it becomes something that makes us nervous. And as a result we try to say what people want to hear versus what we know they need to hear.
So, by listening to yourself again, and again, I'll send this to you probably within a couple of hours after we record this, listen to that part and just go, how did that make you feel? Were there any parts that you kind of cringed at or were there any parts that you could have expanded on? Those are things that only you will know because you know this stuff better than others. So that's number one and that's a good exercise.
And then, re-record yourself. And again, you're telling yourself or your audience what's all inside and how it helps them because that's really what you're here to do. And the more you believe that this thing will help, the more believable and honest you will come across. And even though you are pitching this, you know this is an investment. I think this is the other thing that has really helped me is that yes, you are asking people to pay, but it's investment. As a result of investing in this, all this other stuff is not going to happen. Their business is not going to fail. They're not going to have headaches anymore. They're not going to be confused. And I think that's . . . I mean, you're providing a service here, and you absolutely should charge for this because imagine how much money you're going to save them. You want to pitch it in a way where it would be crazy for them not to realize how great of an investment this is for their business.
Pat: So that's number one. I really want you to pay attention to the final parts of what you said when you finally went, “You know, Pat, here's the deal. It's going to help you this, it's going to help you . . .” What did you say? “Make more money.” You said that. And be okay with that because if you truly are building and creating that, then own it.
You can position it in a way where it's not going to go, “Hey, this is . . . I'm going to make you rich overnight.” But you told it to me in a very honest way. “This is going to grow your practice. You're going to remove all the headaches that you have and help you have confidence and control over your finances.” And I love how you also mentioned a little bit of proof there, right? Like, “The number one thing that is stopping these practices is just control over their finances, and I don't want that to happen to you. This is so important, which is why this course exists.” And I think that the more you can talk about what life is like on the other end and even, every once in a while, interject a little bit about, well what happens if you don't take control of it now? Then it's almost like a no brainer at that point. So, you'll hear yourself and you'll make changes as you go.
And then the final key of the situation is, and you may have this information already, maybe not, is to understand, okay, what are the objections that people are going to have? What are they going to tell themselves that would stop them from investing in their future? And the more that you can understand those and have a reply or a response to them, then it's going to be even easier for you to sell because you'll know all the things that are going through their head.
We already went over one of those things. “Oh, well, I mean, I'm not familiar with an online course. This is going to be too crazy and too hard for me to even go through.” “No, no, no. Here, this is Teachable. This thing will show you, use login, you go to your lesson, you press play, that's it.”
And then you just go, objection by objection by objection. One those objections might be, “Well, this is too expensive for me.” “Okay, I understand that. Where else are you putting investments into your business?” “Advertising, blah, blah, blah, all this other stuff.” “Many companies are paying thousands of dollars to grow their practices. The crazy thing is nobody's investing in their finances and it's funny because that's the number one thing that's making these practices fail.” So you have a rebuttal, you have an argument against that. And that's kind of what you have to do. And again, the more you understand those objections, the more you just get into the heads of those who are watching and the easier it is for you to sell because you believe in it.
Gordon: Right, right.
Pat: How are you feeling about all this?
Gordon: I love that. You've kind of confirmed what I've been thinking already and just it's a matter of pulling it all together. You know, I'm one of those people that gets easily distracted by shiny objects. And so it's really a matter of focusing in on things.
Pat: So how might you tackle that shiny object syndrome related to this next task?
Gordon: Well, one of the things I think that . . . One take home I've gotten already is to—which I haven't done—is just practice the pitch and just really do a run through of that before I do the webinar again and make sure that I've got that down. And the other thing I love is just really being able to really cover people's objections of really trying to help them maybe, you know, if they're feeling uneasy about things is to put them at ease around all of that.
Pat: What other objections might there be moving forward related to this? Any that you've come across or that you can think of? We can talk through it.
Gordon: My hunch would be is that the biggest objection is that the people might see the course is too expensive. Although compared to other online courses, it's not that expensive, really. And I've got a payment plan, so they've got that option as well.
Pat: Love it.
Gordon: Yep. So they can do that. The other thing would be, just so “Well I don't have time to do this,” but with an online course, particularly the way I've got mine is it's an evergreen kind of course. And so they can go and do it at their own pace.
Pat: There you go. And I'm guessing that those things weren't highlighted in your last pitch.
Pat: And so, highlight those because even if a person doesn't say it with their voice or they're typing it, they're thinking it. Even if they aren't thinking it, the fact that you are thinking for them shows expertise. And so I think that's really important. On the time thing, I think that's a beautiful strategy. Just you know, “Hey, this is self-paced. You can go with it at your own time.” The other thing I would say about that is, to further it one more time, you could say, “However, I do recommend this pace to go through it and then by then you'll have, after two weeks, everything you need to know about your finances finally taken care of forever.” And I think that's an important thing.
Yeah, the time thing is huge. It's a big excuse for people and I think that another thing that you might be able to offer on top of that would be the fact that I'm not in your course and I don't understand, but maybe it is true, is that the lessons sort of stack on each other, right? So you can take it piece by piece.
Pat: You don't have to watch all seven hours all at once and you can always again pick up where you left off with Teachable. Do you also provide ongoing support or anything on top of that?
Gordon: Yeah, so that's one of the things that I'm trying to figure out is to have kind of a premium course offering in terms of doing some consulting with me. But the other thing too, especially after listening to Superfans and really getting my head around those concepts, is really starting maybe an online community for people that are, particularly counselors and therapists, struggling with their finances.
Pat: Yeah. Great. The other thing is stories. If you can at all, in any way, find any success stories that you have helped people with, or even if even if they're not success stories yet, you can pull stories out from real people and talk about the struggles they've been having and how hard it's been for them. The more those stories can relate to the webinar viewer, to your audience, to your community, the more they're going to take action, right?
So, do yourself a favor and do not do what I did, which is as you've created these success stories, you've kind of just let them go and then move onto the next one. Really understand, especially because you're so niched, their names, what were their struggles? How did they get through them? Put them on a piece of paper in front of your computer so that the next time somebody goes, “Oh, well, I don't know. I have a small practice and I don't think that I can afford this.” “Oh, that's just like Jamie. Jamie took this course a couple months ago. Three employees had the exact same thoughts, but look at her now. You can go to her website if you want to check her out. She's got her finances on point and now she's able to even better serve her clients because of that, because she's not wasting time with her finances.”
Boom. It's like, “Oh my gosh, Jamie is just like me.” Instead of you just going, “No, no, no. I'm the expert here. Let me tell you, you need this course.” That can often come across a little pushy, but the stories, man, those things sell so well and they're real and people can relate to them.
Gordon: That's so true. That is so true.
Pat: Do you have a story in mind or somebody that . . . You don't have to talk about it now, but that you can put it your pitch?
Gordon: Yeah, I've got one person in mind that I know has gone through the course and I'll get back in touch with him about it.
Pat: Great. Yeah, that's awesome. That's great. I think we've made some pretty big breakthroughs here. How about you?
Gordon: Yeah. I knew that polishing the pitch and really hitting on those things that might be people's objections is what I . . . I kind of knew that, but it's good to hear it in person from you.
Pat: Good, good. I think instead of calling it a pitch, let's call it a transformation. You're going to share the transformation and let's get rid of that word because that word, even when you said it there, even for me it's like . . . It's like, “Oh, I have to pretend to be something so I could sell this thing now.” No, let's show them what they're going to like what the transformation is.
Gordon: Yeah, I like that. I like that. That's much more palatable.
Pat: Love it. Thank you, Gordon. Can you tell everybody listening where they can find you, where they can check you out and all the good things?
Gordon: Yes. So they can go to my website. I've got practiceoftherapy.com and also have a podcast called the Practice of Therapy Podcast and it's on all the pod catchers out there. And also you can just email me at [email protected]
Pat: You got the branding down. I love it. Gordon, thank you so much. I appreciate you. Do you mind if we check in with you in a few months or later.
Gordon: I'd love for you to, yeah.
Gordon: That would be great.
Pat: Because I'm going to hold you accountable to this.
Pat: Alright. Sounds good.
Gordon: I need you to.
Pat: Thank you Gordon. Take care.
Gordon: Thank you Pat.
Pat: Alright. I hope you enjoyed that coaching call with Gordon Brewer from, again, the Practice of Therapy Podcast. You can check him out there or practiceoftherapy.com. Gordon, well done. Thanks for being open and vulnerable and open to ideas today. This is going to be a lot of fun to see where you're at in the future. Hopefully, we can come back to you in a few months and check in on you. Just like we're going to do next week's episode. We are bringing back somebody who was on earlier in February and we are finally starting, after a month of saying this, we're finally starting are Where Are They Now episodes, starting next week. So if you haven't subscribed yet, do that because we're going to check back in with people just like we're going to check in with Gordon in the future to see what has happened since getting advice here in the coaching call of AskPat.
And speaking of coaching, call and AskPat if you'd like to get coached just like Gordon did today, you can only give yourself a chance by doing this, by signing up for the application at AskPat.com. It's free to sign up, but there's a lot of people signing up. But the truth is if you don't sign up, you won't get chosen. So, fill out the application, go to AskPat.com, I'm going to need a new round of people to coach here on the show next year after we get through a number of these Where Are They now episodes to close out the year. This will be a lot of fun and I'm really excited.
But again, Gordon Brewer, thank you for coming on and for everybody listening, I appreciate you so much. And again, make sure you subscribe if you haven't already because I'm here to serve you and thanks to everybody who has come on the show to express their needs and allowing us to share this with everybody has been really helpful, too. So hopefully you've been enjoying it and please leave a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts if you haven't done so already. That'll be super helpful leading into the end of the year and a great thank you gift. Thank you. I appreciate you and see you next week. Team Flynn for the win. Here we go.