Getting Yourself Booked Solid with Clients

By Mark Danaher

With a nice website and coaching packages, not many people were calling me. I was struggling to get traction in my business. I decided to find a business coach who could help me review my business practices. We started with some changes to my LinkedIn profile and website to focus on my niche and provide a clear message to my potential clients. My business coach, Walt, then introduced me to a program, Book Yourself Solid®, by Michael Port that I have been using for a year.

There are three mandatory promotion strategies that I needed to do every day to get booked solid. They are:


Direct outreach,


Each strategy is important, but they need to be done consistently and together in order to be effective. Goals can be small or large and will change as you move people in and out of your network.


1. Networking

The purpose of networking is to develop a deeper relationship with people you already know. I began this activity by writing down all the people I knew and wanted to grow my relationship with. The list came from my various meetings, conference presentations, volunteering in different associations, employment, family connections, friends and general contacts. In choosing my network, I thought about people who would want to know more about my business and who would be willing to share my message. My network focuses on 50% potential clients and 50% professionals who can sing my praises.

To build my initial list, I took 100 people I knew and put their names and emails into an excel spreadsheet alphabetically so I could keep track of the dates and messages sent to my contacts. This way I can systematically reach out to three people daily so I know whom I have contacted and what their response was. I used the same core email message but each is personalized depending on the person or event happening at that time of year. The emails range from inspirational messages to sharing tips and content information on retiring to the good life.

I never ask them to promote, sell or refer me. My goal is to grow our relationships, my credibility, and an understanding of what I do. For example, here is a recent email I sent to my contacts this past year:

Hi Walt, 

Hope things are well with you.  Just wanted to share one of my favorite quotes from Coach Valvano "If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special." I hope you are creating something special in your life!

Warm Regards, Mark


To grow my client list, I present at Rotaries, Chamber of Commerce events, libraries, corporations and conferences. When I go out to speak at an event, my goal is to educate and make them aware of the problems they may face in planning for retirement. Then I offer an additional free resource that I can email if they provide me their name and email address and permission to put them on my newsletter list.


2. Direct Outreach

The second part of the system is to have a list of 20 professionals who are relevant to my work. My goal is to connect with people of influence in my retiring to the good life market. I search LinkedIn and Internet sites to find and reach out to HR managers, Financial Planners, Wealth Planners, Accountants, and other coaches who might benefit from developing a relationship. My goal is to turn these connections into mutually beneficial relationships to grow our businesses and gain referrals. I have a keep in touch strategy that allows me to provide an understanding of my work as well as to ask how we can partner together to grow and understand one another. Building trust and credibility is crucial for promoting mutual referrals.

The only way to gain allies in my network is to grow trust and credibility. People don’t buy a process; they buy from someone they know and trust. My coaching business has grown faster by targeting my network and developing these relationships. Take some time in your day and start your network of 90 and list of 20 to begin growing your relationships. The only way to make this work is to act consistently and purposefully.


3. Referrals

By having an organized referral system, I can connect with an increasing number of clients. I want to keep track of referrals made to me as well as referrals I make to other professionals. These referrals are done directly with clients at the end of sessions or when they mention friends who might be interested. I offer to talk with their friends and provide business cards or send them a written email they can pass on to friends who might be interested in my services. When working with other professionals, I try to connect with people who complement my services. I try to operate from a position of service and cooperation to reach out to others and develop relationships that are mutually beneficial.

These benefits can range from being listed on their website and placing business cards in their office, to writing an article for their newsletter on their topic, to having them as your go-to-person to speak on their area of expertise. The only way to gain allies in your network is to grow your trust and credibility. People don’t buy a process; they buy from someone they know and trust. My coaching business has grown faster by targeting my network and developing these relationships. Build your trust and credibility with your network and watch your business grow.


Mark DanaherMark Danaher is a speaker, consultant, coach, facilitator, and Master Trainer with Masters Degrees in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology.  Mark has been focused on career development for twenty-three years.  He specializes in facilitating career development training, developing and growing your business and helping people build and implement new life plans.


As President/Founder of his own company Retire to the Good Life, Mark has worked with numerous clients to help them look at their pre-retirement areas and prepared them for their pivot into a new career and life plan.  He shares his knowledge with various corporations, rotaries, libraries and community agencies to help educate people on issues around building a new career and life.  Mark can be contacted at mark@retiretothegoodlife.com or by visiting his website:  www.retiretothegoodlife.com.

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David Just   on Tuesday 08/01/2017 at 10:48 PM

Mark: Very good info and you are spot on. I have found people will go out of their way to help you when you have made an attempt to help them, e.g. making a referral to a financial planner who in turn refers someone to you. I also agree with your assessment that it is trust and credibility that wins people over versus having just a bunch of credentials. It is all about relationship building. Great article. Thank you.

Jim Peacock   on Thursday 08/03/2017 at 03:32 PM

It all looks so simple here... and it is. The key is to be consistent as you pointed out and have a clear message.

Thanks for sharing Mark, this is great food for thought in growing a business.

Mark Danaher   on Thursday 08/03/2017 at 04:58 PM

David & Jim,

Thank you your comments! Trust and credibility are important along with being consistent with a clear message. You should always look to serve your audience well.


Charmaign Lomastro    on Friday 08/04/2017 at 12:20 AM

I am just starting a coaching business so this is very helpful. Thank you!

Nancy J. Miller   on Friday 08/04/2017 at 12:33 PM

Thanks for the article, Mark. You have a great way of building trust while showing your expertise without selling. So important for a coaching business. Definitely and article I can share. - Nancy

Christina Clark   on Sunday 08/13/2017 at 02:42 PM

Thank you very much for your suggestions for sustainability. As a start-up, it is hard to pin point the right answer. I am going to order the book and implement a few of your ideas above.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.