What if lead magnets are (genuinely) terrible for coaches?

What is a ULM? And How Does It Turn Strangers Into Coaching Clients in as Little as 4 Days?

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by Pat Sgro
Profile flip square
by Pat Sgro

We’re living in the golden era of coaching

High-level coaching for almost any topic imaginable is mere clicks away.

But finding the right coach can be frustrating, overwhelming, and sometimes downright risky.

This causes problems for both client and coach.

Often, unfortunately…

  • Coaches struggle to find clients because they aren’t marketers
  • Marketers take the lion's share regardless of coaching ability or commitment to results

So people often end up with the wrong coach.

Marketers, they ruin everything.

*Click to Watch the video version of this article

How We Get Clients

This article is part of the SCA Explainer Series. This series aims to organize and simplify the process of getting clients.

Today we'll look at the LEAD section of the client enrollment timeline.

SCA Client Enrolment Timeline ULM
A ULM will bypass the need for community (or nurturing) for roughly 60% of new clients.

A Secret Weapon for the Modern Coach

As consumers, we’re well aware of the tricks deployed by marketers. This protects us but also makes it hard to find the best solutions.

As coaches, we want clients ready to commit, excited for change, and hungry for a new version of themselves.

There’s a win-win for both the consumer and the coach, and it’s something I call a Unique Lead Mechanism (ULM).

What is a Unique Lead Mechanism (ULM)?

A Unique Lead Mechanism (ULM) is a single, tidy, unit of marketing. It attracts and filters prospects, making a steady stream of ideal clients for the coach.

A ULM is unique to you personally, unique to your business, and unique to your offer:

  • Focuses on one specific desire
  • An evolution of ‘attract & convert’
  • Is a ‘lead magnet’ on steroids

Don’t be fooled:

  • A basic ‘free download’ is not a ULM
  • Anything that requires ‘nurturing’ is not a ULM
  • A trip-wire or low-ticket item (anything people need to buy) is not a UML

A well-built ULM:

  • Is a concise promise of tantalising results
  • Opens communication channels
  • Gets people out of defence mode and into problem-solving mode
  • Represents high value (with minimal effort from the prospect)
  • Is unique to your business, your offer, your ideal client, and your personality

You ain't seen a conversion rate like this

We are seeing ULMs with very high opt-in-to-enrolment success rates.

Our clients average around 10-15%. Read that again.

This means that for roughly every 10 opt-ins received, one could expect 1 new client to come on board.

Because ULMs don't need any form of nurturing, they have excellent utility for:

  • Social following
  • FB Group/Community
  • Email list
  • Newsletter/SubStack
  • In-person/network events
  • Paid traffic

And with such a high conversion rate, ULMs are vastly superior to the traditional ‘lead magnet’.

Traditional lead magnets pale in comparison.

Curiosity is the engine that drives call bookings.

A ULM delivers that curiosity in a simple, useful, low-risk format.

The Problem with Traditional Lead Magnets is they suck

As coaches, we often assume prospects will reach out if they only knew how good their lives can be with our help.

This is a mistake.

Our prospects don’t need more information.

This is why traditional lead magnets suck

They don’t get downloaded.
They take a lot of energy to develop but receive too few downloads.

They don’t get consumed.
They sit unread in the downloads folder. And even with high downloads, conversion is poor.

They only grow email lists.
Meaning now the owner (coach) has yet another skill to master before results appear.

They waste people's time.
Worst of all? Traditional lead magnets force hot prospects to wait when they might want to get on the phone right away. They also force cold prospects into a spam-style journey of “kind-of-relevant content”.

We’re in the mid-2020s, not the aughts.

Once upon a time, everyone opened their email and list growth made sense as a primary lead strategy. That reality no longer exists.

This is also why the ULM works so well.

What's so special about a Unique Lead Mechanism (ULM)? What does it do?

A good ULM packages your unique specialty in a few short words. It turns a key desired outcome into a low-hanging fruit. It grabs the attention of your ideal target market. It gets them engaged, almost immediately.

A good ULM opens up a pathway for a stranger to become a client in 4-10 days. It completely replaces traditional lead magnets. It attracts, filters, and gets people on the phone as fast as possible.

A good ULM will also build an audience with minimal effort. This could be in the form of a community (FB Group), ad re-targeting, or even a simple email list.

How a Unique Lead Mechanism (ULM) Works

  1. A person becomes aware of you.
  2. They quickly discover your ULM. It speaks to them, sparks curiosity and inspires action.
  3. That action triggers a series of events that educate and provide defence-shifting epiphanies.
  4. An ideal prospect will book a call without delay, they want to know if your solution can help them
    ^^ All within 1-24 hours ^^
  5. Your current enrolment/sales process does the rest.

Estimate the effect a ULM will have on your coaching business. This calculator shows your client enrolment potential 90 days from now.

The Numbers When Using A ULM: Rapid & Reliable Turnaround From Stranger To Client

Coaches using a ULM have the ability to enrol a client who was a stranger as recently as 4 days prior. Not as a once-off ‘fluke’, but as part of a repeatable process.

Average time from stranger to paid enrolment:

  • 10% = Less than 1 week
  • 60% = 1-2 weeks
  • 30% = 2 or more weeks

Meaning, out of 10 new clients, 7 will have enrolled within two weeks from first discovering the coach. This is regardless of traffic source, paid or organic.

*Averages based on results of private clients.

When Using A ULM Coaches Don’t Need To Be Salespeople

A good ULM dissolves sales call anxiety, tension, and pressure -- for both parties.

My clients all report a similar story after building and implementing their ULM.

Prospects book calls, and then arrive on-time informed, educated, excited, and hopeful. The calls are no longer a defence/offence game where the coach has to try to ‘sell’ the prospect. But rather, both parties engage in conversation to confirm/check if it’s going to be a good fit.

This can’t be understated. Most coaches I work with don’t have sales training -- nor do they want it. Good coaches want to help people, not sell people.

Having a ULM eliminates the need to sell people over the phone.

Benefits of Developing A ULM

  1. Enable ‘Stranger to Client’ over an average of 2 weeks (but as fast as 4 days)
  2. Simplifies the sales call
  3. A singular, simple and elegant front-end CTA
  4. Email list and community building happens as a by-product

Required Components of a Decent ULM

A ULM worth its weight will have the following attributes:

  • It will accept traffic from anywhere and everywhere
  • The name contains the main promise
    The action required by the prospect should take no more than 2-5 mins
  • The prospect expects to receive something containing answers/insight
  • While waiting, the prospect follows their curiosity and fills in knowledge gaps
  • Once the prospect reviews the delivered material, they can book a call if they want


The Sniff Test. At no stage should the prospect feel like they are being tricked, lured, or sold to. The ULM doesn't need to be fancy, it doesn't matter if it's a bit clunky or 'unprofessional' (whatever that means).

Unique Lead Mechanism takes cold traffic and generates call bookings with ideal prospects
Unique Lead Mechanism takes cold traffic and generates call bookings with ideal prospects

Final Thoughts: Develop Your Own Unique Lead Mechanism (ULM)

The goal of this article was to introduce an alternative method for coaches to get new clients. The process need not be overwhelming, relentless, or difficult.

Coaching is the self-aware person's cheat code to problem-solve and level up. And as coaches, it’s our job to integrate knowledge and enable behavioural change. We love people, and it thrills us when they succeed. My years of coaching have been some of my favourites -- but I owe a great deal of that to my marketing background.

Great coaches needn't have gaps in their client books. That's why I’ve "spilled the beans" and shared the details of the ULM.

The ULM is the secret weapon for the modern coach.

What's Next

The video version of this article is here.

If you haven't used the calculator yet, check it out below.

Estimate the effect a ULM will have on your coaching business. This calculator shows your client enrolment potential 90 days from now.

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