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Holly Upshaw

Rock-Solid Steps for Automating your Discovery Process and Engaging High-End Clients

If you’re a rock star coach looking to grow your tribe of ideal clients, this information can help you get to YES faster with folks who hunger for exactly what you deliver.

It’s a buyer’s market, and rightfully so. As someone who invests in my own career development, it’s important that I align myself with the very best resources and the sharpest coaches I can find. My goal is to shortcut my learning curve and drive results faster than possible on my own.

Advice for coaches

Looking for a streamlined way to on-board potential coaching clients? In the world of high-end, private coaching, it’s unlikely that prospects will come banging at your door and begging you to sign on for larger programs without a bit of hand-holding. They might buy a “do-it-yourself” class through an ad or join a low-cost (eg, low-touch) group coaching program after participating in a free webinar. But an investment of thousands of dollars requires a mutual commitment to your clients’ success. After all, people conduct business with those they know, like and trust. Coaching relationships require intimate sharing of knowledge much like your priest, rabbi, doctor or attorney. Clients depend on you to transform their business, their lives, or both.

You’ve spent time sharing your wisdom generously in the marketplace and attracting your ideal clients’ attention. They’re interested. When it comes to private coaching, however, potential clients deserve to understand exactly what’s in it for them so they can engage you with confidence:

  • How might you address their pain, or potential (the reason they need coaching in the first place)?
  • Do your skills and background prove that you can rock their challenges?
  • Are you a good fit strategically and personally?
  • Are your values and philosophies on success aligned?
  • Will you support their mission and keep them accountable?
  • What does success look like and how will it be measured?
  • What assurances do you offer that your coaching program will deliver on its promises?

Rather, breakthrough discovery sessions are an interactive dialogue that help both parties peel back the onion and reveal if you’ve got the potential for a collaboration. They’re an important prerequisite to see if you’re both feeling the right chemistry and can succeed by working together.

Here are some simple tips for automating the discovery session process.

  1. Create a landing page that explains your philosophy and services.  The important sections include what to expect, who you might serve and why you’re qualified to help.
  2. Invite folks to a free 30 minute discovery call or Skype (via your landing page) during webinars and meetings. Embed your link on blogs and web pages, social posts, news releases, etc.
  3. If interested, prospects should complete a brief, 2-minute survey. (I use Google forms to get prepared for the call). Here is where you ask relevant questions to understand their pain or promise, what success looks like, how important reaching those goals are to them, etc. Ask them to define their sense of urgency and timing to determine if this is truly a hot lead or a longer-term prospect. You want to have the proper time available to give them the quality coaching they desperately need and deserve.
  4. Click to a free calendar schedule app. Calendly’s free app links with my Google Calendar and shows the time slots I’ve allocated for new business development. It also alerts me about the appointment and saves lots of administrative scheduling time.
  5. Have your discovery call questions outlined so that you are efficient with your time, and theirs. Don’t forget to review their Twitter account, LinkedIn page, website and survey form before your call so you can ask meaningful questions. It’s more about eliciting emotional feelings tied to their ambitions and truly listening to their responses (not about selling your virtues).
  6. During the discovery session, always give value! Share at least 1 or 2 solid pieces of actionable advice so that your caller’s time was well-spent regardless of whether or not they decide to hire you today. They must leave the call feeling renewed, re-energized and excited about their next best moves (whether with or without you).
  7. Be clear on recommending their next best moves (eg, outline your coaching program and how they specifically can work with you…with a generous bonus incentive to sign up NOW).
  8. Have your registration page (or proposal) and invoicing templates ready so you can quickly share while they are in decision-making mode.
  9. Have your thank you/welcome automation sequence ready so they know what to expect from you.
  10. Over-deliver on your promises, so they retain services and refer their friends. (Don’t forget to generously reward referrals).

Use your authentic style and attract the high-end coaching clients who deserve to work with you

Rock on,


Ready to Hire a Business Coach? Ask These 7 Key Questions to Rock Your Discovery Session

If you’re an entrepreneur or executive ready to engage a coach to get you to the next level, you deserve a discovery session interview to ensure you’re trusting the right partner who can rock your goals. 

It’s a buyer’s market, and rightfully so. As someone who invests in my own career development, it’s important that I align myself with the very best resources and the sharpest coaches I can find. The goal is to shortcut my learning curve and drive results faster than possible on my own. I balance the cost of not engaging the right mentors to accelerate my growth.

You both deserve to make the best choice.

In the world of private or group coaching, both parties deserve to enter into the relationship with confidence. Folks might buy a “do-it-yourself” class or e-book through an ad; they may join a low-cost (eg, low-touch) group coaching program after participating in a free webinar. That makes perfect sense for those who will follow directions and prefer truly independent learning.

However, when folks demand more attention and accountability, an investment of thousands of dollars requires mutual commitment to your success. After all, people conduct business with those they know, like and trust. Coaching relationships require the intimate sharing of knowledge much like your priest, rabbi, doctor or attorney. Clients depend on coaches like me to transform their business, their lives or both.

How do you find the right coach?


A great coach gives from the heart (what I call a go-giver). S/he will have spent time sharing wisdom generously in the marketplace and attracting the ideal clients’ attention. They’re interested. When it comes to private coaching, however, potential clients deserve to understand exactly what’s in it for them so they can engage you with confidence.

Ask these 7 killer questions to see if you’re a good coaching fit:

  • How does your coaching program or service address my pain, or potential (the reason you seek coaching in the first place)?
  • How will you support my mission and keep me accountable?
  • What accolades do others say in testimonials and reviews?
  • What does success look like and how will we measure?
  • Do your skills and background prove that you can rock my challenges?
  • Are you a good fit strategically and personally (eg, are our values and philosophies on success aligned)?
  • What assurances do you offer that your coaching program will deliver on its promises?

These important questions can be addressed on what I call a breakthrough discovery session. Note, these are NOT pitchy sales calls or free consultations with no outcomes. You will definitely walk away with 1 or 2 awesome nuggets of advice regardless of whether we decide to work together moving forward.

Rather, discovery sessions are interactive dialogues that help both parties peel back the onion and reveal if you’ve got synergy. They’re an important prerequisite to see if you’re both feeling the right chemistry and can succeed by working together.

Rock on,


Tips for Success with Less Stress: Networking follow-up made easy

Following up from a busy day of networking just became a whole lot easier!

The secret to success is in the follow up.  My networking goal is never to tackle an entire room and grab as many cards as possible. Rather, I strive to make 2-3 meaningful connections so that I can spend time getting to know folks better without losing touch after the event ends.   Prompt, efficient and friendly reconnection makes all the difference.

 Yet after a busy week of seemingly endless great events, my desk was in chaos–until now.  I’ve searched for months to find a simple way to capture the cards and keep the dialogue moving ahead with my new friends and potential colleagues or clients. Evernote Premium (EN) has come to my rescue!

 Exporting Evernote Business Card Contacts into Get Response

On my Android phone  (and iOS, too) you simply need to download the Evernote app. After creating a default CONTACTS notebook, go to the camera option and select that default business card setting. Here you can also sync the app with LinkedIn and enjoy the option to invite new friends to connect there as well.

Use the EN app to shoot a photo of your business card. then select to connect on LinkedIn and/or add to your phone contacts. Be sure to confirm it properly captured the card data, as some faint or reverse printing makes it harder for the digital reader.  In Evernote, go into your CONTACTS notebook and then tag everyone as needed. It’s super easy to create the tags, and you’ll see a drop down once the letters match or it’ll ask you to save as a new tag.

To export, you’ll need to download the FREE Tusk Tools Contact Exporter. After just a moment, I was able to easily follow the instructions on the contact exporter wizard to retrieve entries from EN:

  • Go to EN and select the Contacts file, hit Next.
  • Browse to ID the target location and name your new export file (CSV destination).
  • Hit EXPORT and in a minute the files were exported and downloaded. Easy peasy!

The email/CRM dilemma solved, finally!

The second half of my data dilemma was finding an easy contact manager/email/CRM tool. GetResponse seems to have all I need, including a built-in webinar and some nice landing pages. Most importantly, it makes tagging and sorting and follow up quite simple. This replaces the need for wonky Google Hangouts/WebinarJam and paying for a host of other programs I’ve tested lately.  To upload the new data file into GetResponse, simply open the campaign. match up the columns and import. It took another few minutes to create a pretty newsletter from one of their templates. I’m not super techy, yet It worked like a charm!


Spark Inspired Action: Start with your WHY

When you speak from the heart, amazing things happen. You light a fire inside the belly of your ideal audience and the laws of attraction start to work their magic.

If you want to deliver a talk that inspires folks to reach beyond themselves and to trust you as the source who can help them exceed expectations. Invest an important 18 minutes to learn from Simon Sinek’s famous 2014 Ted Talk. The bestselling author and keynote speaker explains why it’s so important to “Start With Why.” 

A Lesson from Apple: How to Spark Inspired Action with your “Why”

According to Simon Sinek, the fundamental difference between the “Apples” of the world and everyone else is that they start with “why.” He suggests that we stop focusing on HOW things get done, but rather the value of how our client will FEEL when they experience our products or services.

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

For example, rather than focus on the features of its machines, Apple prides itself on challenging the status quo, of thinking differently. Hence why Apple evolved as the go-to brand for tech innovation in phones, tablets, and so many other devices.

Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” philosophy isn’t just about monster corporations. Smart entrepreneurs and executives can apply his wisdom to crafting compelling messaging that moves clients to next best steps. As I prepare to teach yet another group of aspiring public speakers, it’s important to step back and reflect on this fundamental motivation. It’s the secret sauce.

3 Key Takeaways for Presenters:

1. Use “Why” to Think About Your Own Business

There’s a room full of people waiting to know not just the core of your business, but also how it aligns with your “why.” As Sinek noted, nurturing loyal customers is all about attracting folks who share your fundamental beliefs.

Remember: People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

2. Incorporate “Why” into Your Keynote Speech and Marketing Copy

Leading with your “why” best explains the underlying value of what you’re promoting. It sparks the audience’s intrigue so you simply have to close the deal with the details (how and what).

3. Revisit Your Ideal Client Avatar

Remember, people don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. So let’s build our storytelling around our audience in terms of what makes them tick, of who they are. Are your core values aligned? Why should they trust your recommended next best steps? What will you share with them personally and professionally over a lifetime? Get beyond the stodgy demographics and find some common ground so you will have fun while you tackle challenges together.

If you’re in the personal service industry and relate 1:1 with individuals, think about them in the context of their world, their families, hobbies, fears, and values. Why do they buy from you versus competitors? Are you the reachable, customer-friendly partner in an industry full of bureaucratic large companies? Do you share a love of golf, of certain charities? Do you empower women to gain financial independence and a solid backbone so they are not left in shock one day when the world shifts beyond their expectations? Are you making the world a better place, and your customers love you because they share strong believe in your cause?

Whatever the reasons, fine-tune your buyer personas or avatars to align with your “why” and build a team of loyal advocates. Go ahead, ask them to join you on your mission.

When folks believe in your “why,” they’ll blossom from simply prospects or customers into your best evangelists.

I challenge you to spend some time this week thinking clearly about your WHY and how it inspires all that you do.

Tell us below…what is your number one area where you’d like to FOCUS and make huge progress in the next 90 days?


[50 ROCKS: CALCULATING] Make it meaningful, make it memorable. And make it MEASURABLE.

Word for the week: Calculating! Welcome to my blog series, 50 ROCKS: Life Lessons for Success. The program was prompted by my unique 50th birthday gift from my friend Rose: a box filled with 50 gold-painted rocks, each depicting a special nugget about me and just how much “50 ROCKS.” It’s my inspiration to share life lessons for personal and business success.

Einstein says, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

When my friend Rose called me calculating, she honored my persistent questions: What does success look like? How can we make things better as a TEAM? Just like a GPS, we should be clear and FOCUSED on our goals and build our roadmap to success with the desired outcomes in mind. Whether you’re looking for a trainer, keynote speaker or marketing support, be clear on your WHY and how the investment will positively impact your people, your momentum and your bottom line.

Einstein also said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that CAN be counted, counts.”

Focus on what’s important to your brand and to your team. Can you show Return on Investment? How about Satisfaction, Retention, Employee Engagement? Sometimes, corporate culture needs a lift and programs are meant to get people talking to each other and boost morale.

Other times, we strive for improvement in hardcore numbers like “sell a million widgets” or reduce errors by X%.” But don’t throw data for the sake of impressing folks. Make sure you highlight what’s important (to your managers and up the corporate ladder) and show ACTIONABLE next steps.

I always say, “Make it meaningful, make it memorable. And make it MEASURABLE whenever possible!”

Please chime in: share some examples of successes or challenges that you face in measuring VALUE.  Or let me know how we can support your efforts. I hope this week ROCKS for you!

Pat Roque

[50 ROCKS: SOCIABLE] Reunited after 30 years thanks to LinkedIn

Go ahead, be sociable: Blessings will unfold thanks to the Laws of Attraction.

Webster’s dictionary defines sociable as “likely to seek or enjoy the company of others.”  Does being sociable and meeting new people excite you, or scare you to death? Do you have a strategic plan for where, how and why you connect with others to make the best investment of your time?


True story: One year ago, I reunited with my BFF from college through LinkedIn and my life is forever blessed. We’re living proof that being sociable pays off – especially when you REALLY connect with the folks you encounter online.

As a firm believer in the Laws of Attraction, it’s important to find joy and inspiration collaborating with like-minded people.  For example, I’ve blatantly found a “home” in the CITI CONNECT Professional Women’s  Network. Thank you Linda Descano and the amazing women in that group. There’s something magical about the people, their candor and kindness. I make it a point to contribute in some way every week: offering advice, showing gratitude for other’s contributions or just to say hello.

Embrace Linkedin to CONNECT with like-minded people. 

Within this conversation hub I stumbled upon my college sidekick and “partner in crime”, Mariel Miller. In the 80’s, we were bad-asses traveling the NJ Turnpike from Bergen County to Glassboro State (now Rowan University). We drifted apart after graduation (with no drama) and hadn’t spoken in 30 years. It happens. Time flies.

Last summer, the laws of attraction brought us back together thanks to a social media post discussing telecommuting. You see, we both really value time freedom, independent income potential and spending quality time with our families. Working remotely while creating a path to success for others are built into our DNA. We both have family members with special health challenges who require extra attention. And we were both mid-life hormonal, at rock bottom and open to a better way. Something had to change!

Mary Ellen Wasek (now Mariel Miller) and I joined forces with amazing folks from across the globe. We started feeding our bodies with nutritional superfoods and healthy aging minerals. We rid ourselves of toxic habits (and some toxic people).

Now we’re both healthier, happier and setting others on a path to a strong financial future with passive income. Yes, we get paid while we travel on vacations as well as for business.  (So far this year I’ve been to London, Copenhagen, Paris, Mexico, Palm Springs, Orlando, San Diego and the Jersey Shore. Tampa and Dallas are coming soon). We coach hundreds of folks (including our own families) on how to live at a higher vibration. It’s a better way, and we are indeed blessed.

Love you Maryellen Wasek (Mariel) Miller! Thank you for all you do, including sharing your time and talents to make me a better person. A year surely has changed everything, and we’ve only just begun!

Please chime in: share some examples of amazing — or horrifying — outcomes from social networking in your personal or professional life.  

I hope this week ROCKS for you!

Pat Roque

[50 ROCKS: HONEST] Be HONEST…What is your WHY?

Never in a MILLION years would I have thought I’d share a “before and after picture.” Until the day I realized I could perhaps save a life by being honest with myself, and with the world. 

I come from a HUGE family. My dad was one of 12 kids, and we have about 3 DOZEN cousins in each generation (I lost count). We’re the Italian version of the movie “my Big Fat Greek Wedding” (minus the Windex). There’s always love, laughter and lots of food. Now obesity, heart disease and some other scary health issues have surfaced across the branches of our wonderful family tree.

My dad died at age 70 of heart disease stemming from obesity. He missed seeing his four grandkids grow into accomplished young adults. My brother and cousin each had open-heart surgery in their early 50s. Again, they scared me into ACTION.

So my WHY is HUGE:  I’m dedicated to ensuring that my family and yours can enjoy longer, healthier and abundant lives. My new health colum in the CITY POST celebrates that mission.  I had to be honest with myself, admit that I had a huge problem and then set out to turn that around.

If you’re someone who values better health, or struggles with it, let’s get real and explore answers to your important questions. My column offers tips for healthy aging, weight management, stress reduction, improving athletic performance and more. We will help you find more energy, gain focus, become more productive and really ENJOY each God-given day.


Did you notice that the word diet starts with DIE? Oddly, it makes improving your nutrition sound so painful. I believe this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. We must incorporate celebrations and vacations into our wellness plan vs labeling them as guilty “cheating.” After all, you have to live.

Keeping in mind your specific goals, remember these SIX STEPS to better health:

  • REESTABLISH your relationship with food
  • ENJOY the process
  • Use SYSTEMS and SUPPORT tools
  • Embrace COACHING in a nurturing environment
  • Celebrate SUCCESS and small WINS

Better health and wellness are LIFELONG choices, with occasional bumps in the road. Take that FIRST step. Make the decision to honor your “why” and let us know what one thing you can do differently TODAY. As my mentor Charlie Tao says,

“There are seven days in the week and SOMEDAY is not one of them.”

 Please share – what is YOUR WHY??

Make it a great week!


[50 ROCKS: FUNNY] Channeling my Inner “Rocky Balboa”

I’ve got to admit, delivering keynote speeches is an absolute blast. Nothing is more fun than connecting with a room full of strangers and turning them into fans and friends.  But how?

Inspiration comes on its own timeline, it seems. I was challenged to present my “maximizing your membership” talk to about 75 members of my Women’s Golf Association on NJ. But honestly, we needed something fun to spark their energy after filling their bellies with the delicious brunch buffet. 

When in doubt, use a fun theme to drive home your motivational message.

Our season is 15 weeks long, and it reminded me of my younger days when boxing matches were 15 rounds.  And my all-time favorite movie was ROCKY.  My dad’s name is Rocky. My son’s middle name is, too. So why not channel my inner Rocky Balboa to teach these ladies how to plan to “go the distance” and get “knockout results” with their participation in our golf season?

So yes, I came out to the ROCKY THEME “Gonna Fly Now” — wearing pink boxing gloves.

 Silly? Perhaps. But I had them laughing and smiling and engaging in my program…hanging with me as I had fun storytelling to motivate them to action. 

In case you’re curious, here is my action plan:


  1. Know your “WHY”: We’re all busy, so WHY are YOU excited to participate? Don’t just show up without appreciating what else you’ve given up to be here. 
  2. Set Lofty Goals: Regardless of your playing ability, it’s important to set goals and strive to improve. For example, my goals are to average 18 putts per 9 holes and to break 100 this year. One might wish to break a new scoring barrier, drive the ball 200 yards, etc. But if you don’t have a target then how do you know where to aim??
  3. Make a Plan:  Scheduling makes things real. Commit your intentions to your calendar so that you carve out time just like any other business appointment.  
  4. Practice Makes Perfect: Robb Gibb, my ace putting coach, says I should practice my tempo, swing path and aim every day. Even 10-15 minutes of rehearsing the swing motion in my family room will help develop muscle memory. It’ll also ensure that I don’t waste time standing over the ball during real play.
  5. “Meet up” w/ New Friends:  This season will be about expanding my circle and NOT playing with my same foursome all the time. I love them to death but mixing things up will allow for making new friendships and should actually improve my game. 
  6. Play New Courses: Our league offers a wide variety of places to play. I’m trying a new, hillier course at Darlington. Fingers crossed.
  7.  Pace Of Play/Relaxed Rules:  Unless you compete and keep a GHIN handicap, it’s more important to have fun and keep the game moving swiftly along. Hence, I love the relaxed rules for our general, beginner leagues.
  8. Walk on or Sub:  Enjoy the luxury of trying new courses as available.
  9. Be Social: Comment, Like & Share: We’ve grown social engagement over 200%
  10. Attend a Board Meeting
  11. Join a Road Trip
  12. Enter WGANJ Cup
  13. Get Golf Healthy
  14. Reward Yourself
  15. Enjoy the Journey

[50 ROCKS: CARING] Thanks, MOM!

My mom is a retired nurse, a techno-grandma who shares joy and monitors my kids’ social media accounts, the retired nurse, Eucharistic minister and bereavement counselor at our church. As I told her today, she sets the bar high and gave me some huge shoes to fill. I hope I can be half as unselfish, caring and dependable as she’s been throughout my life. 

But the celebration made me think about the MANY kinds of “moms” who bless my life. My kids’ godparents, the leaders of my favorite golf league, friends who proudly served as my children’s “other mother” whether they needed an emotional cheerleader, a ride home when I was unavailable, or a kick in the ___.

Indeed, it takes a village to nurture our families – the one we were born into and those we’ve chosen to bless our lives.

I still value the wisdom of my early mentors: strong ladies (and men) who took a vested interest in showing me how to be successful and juggle a family at the same time. I’m blessed today with the love and support of a team who support my career, my personal and and spiritual journey: I’ve become a more successful, generous and abundant leader by learning how to accept support and embrace the ebb and flow of my efforts with grace and ease. 

Birth doesn’t make you a MOM: Caring about others with a vested interest in their success does.

It’s much more than a gender label: MOMS are those special people in our lives who:

1) LEAD by example (do the RIGHT thing regardless of who’s watching)

2) CARE about others (make decisions that benefit the group over time, not just a yes to appease you now with dire consequences later)

3) NURTURE (lend a hand, a shoulder or serve as a sounding board)

4) NOURISH (use the best fuel your body needs to act and think at peak performance)

5) MENTOR (gives great advice and then set tracks for you to run on)

WHO are the special “MOM” figures that positively influence your personal and business decisions? What life lessons have they passed along that you still implement with pride today? PLEASE TAG them and tell them why they ROCK below…

Tell me about YOUR favorite MOM story, and how you’ve been inspired to pass along a legacy.


50 ROCKS: Put the AUDIENCE at the HEART of your promotions

Want to calculate sweet success in your sponsorship marketing? Treat your prospects like Valentine’s: put their needs FIRST, give them what they desire and make it memorable.

My travels to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando let to global collaboration, including a guest blog in today’s Valentine’s Day edition of Golf Business Monitor. My new friend (thanks to Linked Golfers group), Hungarian Blogger Miklos Breitner of Golf Business Monitor, shared my expertise with his audience of golf club and association owners, managers and marketers. Our goal: share best practices on how to acquire new sponsors and retain existing ones

All ships rise with the tide: ollaborate with like-minded partners to grow reach, share success? #boomertips #sponsorship

Sports continue to dominate sponsorship spending. Yet IEG’s 2015 Sponsorship Spending Report1 suggests that sponsorship marketers have “reason to be optimistic but must be prepared to fight harder to maintain and grow revenue and return from partnerships.”

Winners in the sponsorship game must indeed put the audience at the heart of all efforts, and use digital tools to maximize impact.

So how do you bring unique experiences, quantify the opportunity and ensure measurable, repeatable success?

1) Understand THEIR “WHY” (the decision maker AND company’s pain or promise)

2) Identify what success looks like (awareness? trial? sales? retention?)

3) Offer innovative, turnkey solutions (easy implementation and reporting)

4) QUANITIFY the VALUE of the investment as it relates to THEIR NEEDS. For example, reverse engineer a sponsor’s investment to reflect MANY facets of their exposure to your coveted members.

  • Leverage member data to specify how your demographics align with their sweet spot
  • How many “touch points” will you deliver over the year via online and offline efforts, eg
    • Digital (PR, paid ads, social media, CRM/email)
    • Events, contests, educational opportunities
    • Newsletters, signage, print
    • Contests, cross-promotions

5) REPORT MEASURABLE, REPEATABLE SUCCESS in a format they can easily share with upper management or their board of directors

Case in point: the Women’s Golf Association of NJ used this “audience-focused” approach across online and offline to grow from 375 to 463 members last year while doubling engagement and participation rates. We attracted new relationships and substantial support from prominent organizations including the Barclays/PGA Tour, LPGA ShopRite Classic, USGA, PGA Tour Superstore and more.

Remember, every deal should demonstrate VALUE: Return on awareness, engagement, participation and satisfaction. Let this be the first step in your five-year renewal strategy. Think about “what’s in it for ALL” and have fun along the way.