Done with Clients Who Take the Free Session and Bail? Do This Instead.
You offer a free coaching session – maybe a mini session or even a full blown chunk out of your day session. You do this out of good spirit, to show your intentions to help and be of service, because you are after all, a [spiritual, life, wellness, or relationship] coach. But more often than you’d ever like to admit, your free session comes and goes with no further commitment or payment from your would be client. Now you feel so undervalued. No, not even that, just plain used or no good. It’s okay, go ahead and admit it – I’ve been there.
Oh have I.
I have a very important list to share with you. This is a list is 9 ways you can avoid this icky feeling and non-bill paying way of working. It involves pre-qualifying your people, no wait, not “your” people, but the people that cross your path.
“Your” people are the ones that are ready for your work, payment, effort, and all.
I worked with a client years ago that wanted a different outcome for her coaching business. She coached artists. She helped them get their work out to the world. Renee was passionate about her work and recognized the passion in her artist audience – that is why she was so drawn to help them. But she made herself available to them all the time with no filtering, no determining factors that would tell her who could work with her or not, so guess who reached out to her? All of them, the starving artists, the artists not willing to let go of their money, the artists who just wanted something for free, and on occasion, the serious ones would get through – but it wasn’t easy. (Mind you, this is nothing against artists – you can insert anyone into those sentences above – this issue crosses all of humanity).
If you offer yourself to everyone – everyone will partake.
By pre-qualifying a potential client, you are helping them avoid great disappointment. The disappointment from realizing you can’t make the change they want. Those not ready for the commitment generally don’t see the solution with self as the change-maker. [Tweet This]
Renee was sick and tired of failing at her passion. At least that is how she felt about it. She wasn’t failing; she just didn’t have the proper measures in place to ensure success. We discussed the behavior she was experiencing and looked at it under a microscope so that we could better understand why it was happening and change it. This is what we came up with:
9 Ways to stop being undervalued by people who are not ready for your work
Ask your really great clients if they know someone who might need your guidance. Offer your great clients a discounted session for a lead that fully converts. (These are your ambassadors and they will generally be amongst people of like caliber and mindset).
Offer a “test” session that allows you both to decide if further commitment is a go. This “test” session could be 20 minutes for $20 – super affordable, but not free.
On your “contact me” page or anywhere you list a way to for potential clients to contact you (business cards, website, ads, emails) make sure this is highly visible: “If you understand the importance of your well-being [insert your specific market, spiritual, health, etc.] and can place yourself first, contact me today. The nature of my work is very personal and devoted, so I only take on 5 clients per month in order to provide the very best life-changing results possible. Let’s talk.”
Always refer to yourself as a “professional”, “well-established”, “experienced”, “well-qualified” or “exceptional” coach. These words tend to filter out the people who are not serious.
Ask questions – either as a pre-requisite to attending that $20/20 minute session, or for contacting you. Here are several that are direct in prequalifying:
What kind of time can you devote to your goal every day?
What about my services interested you? (If it was just the *free* or $20 session – they generally won’t go any further)
What would you say you are worth in spending on yourself monthly? (This is a nicer way of inquiring about income or budgets.)
Know your market! This is something that Renee did not have clearly defined. Sure, she knew artists, but there is a myriad of artists and personas within that realm. Clarifying that allowed her to know who she could work with and who she could not. When someone who met her “not” ideal client persona – she gently declined working with them. (On occasion she folded, but in a smart way, I’ll share that in a moment.)
Give a quick deadline for decisions. If you’ve given them all the information they need to start – they should be able to decide quickly. Your work is best suited for those who are ready and capable of making decisions. You can reference your monthly client intake (example – 5 per month) like in suggestion #3 as a reminder and reason for your short deadline. “Since I generally fill up my 5 client spots per month quickly, I’ll need to know if you are ready to begin by Tuesday close of business.” Be sure to include instructions for their next 3 steps should they decide to work with you.
Don’t be afraid to lose some in your quest – it is part of the process of defining your people and how you will reach them.
Lastly, I mentioned that Renee would occasionally fold with clients that really could not afford her services. That happens to us all, we are coaches, soft-hearted, and here to help right? Here is the best way to handle that and still retain your own sense of worth: If you’ve prequalified a person and know they are not your ideal client, but your heartstrings are a tugg’n, tell them you offer 2 scholarships per year at a significantly reduced rate (like 75% off) and provide the application. If they are truly interested, serious, and dedicated to the work involved – they will complete it and return it quickly. Provide a deadline. Or you can offer to help them another way for a smaller fee – the conversation might sound like this: “If this is not within your budget, I may be able to do something different for a lower fee, but it will not be the same as my regular program.”
There you have it. 9 ways to kick that undervalued feeling to the curb and step up your client quality. Renee actually only employed, I think, 3 of these – a few questions as part of the contact process ( you really don’t want to ask more than 3) and defining her market more clearly. Okay, yeah, she offered the scholarship too. But truthfully, it made a world of difference for her and her business. She is a much happier artists’ coach today.
My Mania Mantra: Right now, today, I can help you get out of the undervalued cycle which is very, very important to me. I hope it moves you forward.
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Meet Me on the Sofa, let’s talk –M
P.S. If you haven’t already, check out the article “Once I Learned to Do This With My Business, Consider My Mind Blown!“
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