Let’s face it. VIP days are a nice excuse to charge a lot of cash just to spend a day with someone, to scratch at surface work and part without much more.
If we were truly honest with ourselves as coaches and consultants who are charging an average five figures for a VIP day (going rate is typically $7500K-20K), we would have to admit there isn’t a hell of a lot of good you can offer your client in just eight hours. Oops. Six* hours because no one likes to start at 8am, and lunch is usually small talk.
So, can you really change the trajectory of someone’s business, let alone their life, in the course of a business day? Are we selling miracles here, people? Doubtful. If you want something done right, shortcuts are not the answer.
Your brand, your life, and your business deserve the real deal – an immersive connection with your brander and their company so that you can discover, with them, what exactly you’d like to demonstrate to the world.
Let’s break this down.
Why Sales Coaches have no business charging people for VIP days
So let’s say a high level sales coach offers a VIP day to fix your broken sales funnel. How much upfront work would you and your coach have to do in order to really, REALLY understand the strengths and weaknesses of your funnel? Not to mention of your business, your market, and you, as a person.
One day? Come on.
Every funnel is different. Every business is unique. Every person is fundamentally singular.
Funnels are systematic. They all have certain moving parts that force leads toward sales, but they’re more than just an equation. They exist in a myriad of different markets. They have a very dynamic target range. And they reach out to an incredibly diverse group of people.
You can’t correct a broken funnel without understanding it in its entirety. It isn’t something that can be tweaked to get the answer your want. If you change one part – email frequency, timing of direct mail, list size – the effects are compounding. Each part of your funnel hinges on the level before it and the level after it.
It ain’t that easy, people. Definitely not a one-day makeover project.
Why Branders shouldn’t be selling a VIP day (if they want to be ethical)
My own colleagues are charging $15kish to spend a day and work on a brand. But how in the world can you identify a brand in one day’s work? Unless you’re a branding savant, it’s close to impossible.
In order to do that you’d have to skip the competitive research, the market verification process, forward trends, the unraveling of the brand itself – basically rid yourself and your customer of all due diligence in order to BS a brand in a day.
Didn’t anyone ever tell you to take a night and sleep on it?
Even if you did happen to stumble across one that really hit home, you’d still need to take the time to vet it and make sure you aren’t simply caught up in the moment…and overlooking something better or more suitable.
Brands deserve a gut check, not a rash decision. As a brander, it’s your responsibility to let a brand thoroughly marinate before presenting it to someone. Look, I know it’s easy for creative people to pull shit out of thin air. But you can’t just hand out shit brands, nor should you be charging for entrepreneurs who don’t know any better, without having an understanding of what platform identification, sales and the anatomy of formulating a brand really is. Your job is to ensure you’re giving the customer exactly what they want and need. AND, most importantly, what the world needs to get from them. Not one or the other. The customer deserves all of those components.
The branding process is about marination. Allowing a concept to seep into your mind and soak in until you construct a complete thought. Because often times, your client isn’t going to give you a description as cut and dried as you see on some episodes of Mad Men. That’s not real life people. You complete this thought, rinse it off with your imagination, polish it with feedback, then you present it to your client. Otherwise, you’re playing fast and loose with someone’s livelihood – someone who trusted you to help to the very best of your ability.
Why Leadership Coaches shouldn’t be charging for VIP days
How about a leadership coach? The same theory applies. Can you teach them how to “lead better” in a day? So much better that you can justify charging four big zeros on the end? Leadership is something that you have to earn, which takes time. It’s about seizing opportunity and moving a body of people into battle and WINNING.
Please someone tell me how all of that skill can be developed in a few hours.
Leadership is not an As Seen on TV item you can just pick up and voila! you now own the horns of life, yours to lead as you please! It’s an intangible you create internally. You find it within yourself, locked away by the regrets and mistakes and unfortunate events of the past.
You harness courage and move forward.
Only you can own it and only you can direct it. We all need help finding it at times, understanding how to use it. And in that respect, a good coach is invaluable. But if you’re under the impression that you can go from weiner to leader in a day, it’s usually not that simple – as we’ve shown in each of these examples.
Change takes time. Implementation takes time.
Don’t just be a VIP. Be more. Treat yourself better and seek help that can last. Don’t cling to the easier, softer way. Take time to be mentored and learn from someone who knows better than you do, and make it a point to retain this information on a long term basis. Most importantly, respect yourself enough – as a client and a coach – to offer something that lasts, that works, and that is sincere.
Here are some industries where it’s fair to do a VIP day:
1. A personal/fashion stylist – yes it’s possible to check out someone’s closet, inventory the good, the bad, and the ain’t-nobody-leaving-the-house-in-these-mom-jeans. It’s possible to take that person on a shopping expedition, update/delete parts of their wardrobe, discuss color and pattern palettes, learn about style and setting choices, hit the hairdresser and makeup shop, and then come home and look at everything you’ve accomplished – physically witness transformation – in one day.
This kind of breakthrough is possible. And it’s often an overwhelming experience. The day is long and extremely engaging. You remove staples of a former style and introduce new pillars to support your style and fashion choices in the future. And at the end of the day, you can stand in a single room and show your client exactly what you’ve accomplished in just one short day. #breakthroughshappen
2. Nutritionist, personal trainer, or weight loss consultant
A VIP day in the health field is also a fair and effective practice.
There are a number of different strategies one can employ to get a person immediately moving in a healthier direction. As a coach, you don’t have control over what happens after your day is done, but you can spend the day pushing them, calling them on their bullshit, conducting a pantry audit, touring a new gym, going to yoga, new groceries, cooking lessons, mental strategies taught throughout the course of a typical day – helping them make commitments they were too afraid to even look at.
In this context, breakthroughs can happen. They can be very small, but also very real. Their health deserves an honest, open, and knowledgeable approach from someone who genuinely cares. Confronting these kind of issues can certainly be done in a day with a lasting effect. Sure, weight loss isn’t going to happen in a day, but there’s a lot valuable education that can happen in a day’s time.
Photography workshop. This could be a one day event where you cover everything from instruction, teaching tactics, technique, business coaching, financials, aesthetic, branding, client base, referrals – all while shooting your surroundings. Hands-on training, comradery between two people with like interests, what’s not to love?
The timeframe of a day for this hypothetical VIP day works to both the client and the coach’s advantage. It’s not a long drawn out course. The information is mostly facts and experience, and can be taught or demonstrated in a day’s time. The coach could even offer multiple days – beginner, intermediate, advanced. There is real, lasting value within this day’s events.
No BS VIP Days Here…
If you are buying or selling a VIP day, make certain that a one-day timeframe has practical value to what you’re purchasing or selling. If it doesn’t, then go work with someone who is happy to cater on a medium- to long-term basis.
I’ll never do a VIP day because my clients require more. They deserve more. They’ve built their business, scaled it upward, and understand exactly what they want to do. My job is to give them a voice and a place in the public sphere.
If they were branders, they wouldn’t be my client. But they’re not. They’re CEOs and eccentric business moguls and budding entrepreneurs and off the wall non-profit directors. They want an all inclusive service, everything done for them. And I’m happy to give them just that because I am willing to make certain each minute I spend on their brand is worth more than each penny they pay for it.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it didn’t fall in one either.