If you are such a powerful coach, why don’t all your clients renew?
It would be awesome if all your clients kept renewing forever – but sometimes a client is going to complete, no matter what…
When I first started coaching, I felt really hurt when a client didn’t renew because I couldn’t understand it. How could they possibly stop? Why couldn’t they see how incredible their life and business could become if they continued with my support?
Sometimes – no matter how powerfully you serve a client – they are going to complete.
Here are 12 clear reasons why your clients stop coaching – and 2 hidden reasons – and what to do about it…
1. Clients For A Reason, A Season, Or For Life
Things change. And people change. Accept it.
I have had personal trainers for almost 20 years. But I usually change my personal trainer after a maximum of 1-2 years. That’s often nothing to do with them. I just enjoy novelty when it comes to working out.
I spent 7 years in a business mastermind. I loved it. But there came a moment when I could no longer balance the travel it required (four 5-hour flights a year) against the time I wanted to spend with my young kids. I was complete, even though I loved the experience.
Sometimes they are clients for a reason. Sometimes they are clients for a season. Sometimes they are clients for life.
95% of your clients are with you for a reason or a season. You’ll solve the reason, or the season will change. And that’s perfect.
5% of your clients will be clients for life. And the only way to create life-long clients is to never stop creating…
(1) Never stop creating new IP – ideas, tools and distinctions that enlarge their dreams and provoke their thinking.
(2) Never stop creating new experiences that delight them, astonish them, and scare them.
Always need your clients less than they need you.
When it comes to creating clients, too many coaches and consultants slip into an endless boom-bust cycle.
Sign up new clients = boom! Coach your ass off until your clients complete = bust! Followed by panic, stress and hustle…
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
There’s only one way out of this cycle.
ABC: Always Be Creating Clients… That way you can be genuinely happy for them, when they move on.
To work with me as your 1:1 coach is a minimum of $47K and can be up to $185K. I only take on 1-3 private clients. And I’m often oversubscribed, with clients signing up 4-8 months in advance.
But, no matter what, I make certain that every month my calendar has a mix of two colors: red and blue.
Blue is for current clients. Red is for potential clients.
Every month – no matter what – I have conversations with people who aren’t yet my clients. Every month – no matter what – I coach people who aren’t yet my clients. Every month – no matter what – I serve people powerfully, as if they had ALREADY paid me $100,000+.
The higher your fees, the longer the enrollment journey. The person you serve today might become a client next year, or in 5 years. Don’t stop sowing seeds.
Remember ABC: Always Be Creating clients… Always be serving people powerfully. Especially when they’re not yet a paying client.
And Sell Into the Future… Someone wants to work with you but you’re oversubscribed? Don’t turn them away. Ask them, “Would you like to start in October, or next February? Once you pay your deposit, your spot will be reserved.”
Sometimes, after seeing initial improvements or successes, clients feel they’ve gained enough tools or insights to proceed on their own.
That’s a testament to your coaching. Great job!
The problem is that they often won’t say this out loud. They’ll just quietly decide they no longer need coaching.
And it’s usually too late to convince them to stay once they have this feeling. You’ll come across as needy and it will leave a bad taste.
Instead, prepare them in advance.
Let your clients know, early on in their coaching, the ways in which your clients continue to grow, after early successes. And let them know the ways clients tend to slip back, after initial successes.
Tell stories about clients who have continued working with you and are really flying.
Prepare Your Clients For Success (and Failure)… Give your clients a list of ways to get to even higher levels of success, early on in their coaching. Also, give them a list of ways that clients often self-sabotage, or slip up, after initial successes. Ask them to identify the examples they identify with most, from each list. It will help them to see the reasons they should continue coaching without the need to push them to stay.
4. Competing Commitments
Some of your clients may not renew because they want to invest their time and money into other forms of support, such as different types of training, therapies, or a coach with a different specialization.
Make sure you regularly tell stories about the different coaches you work with and the trainings you attend.
Wait, you don’t have more than one coach, or you rarely invest in lots of ways to learn and grow yourself?! It’s time to change that. Invest in yourself.
You need to walk your talk on this one. I’ve invested over a million dollars in my own coaching.
Why would clients keep working with you, if you’ve never invested in working with a coach for longer than a year, yourself? Why would they keep working with you, if you’ve never invested in working with more than one coach at the same time?
5. Demonstrable Results
Regularly review the progress made by your clients towards their goals.
When you can clearly illustrate the value you’ve added, clients are more likely to see the benefits of continuing to work with you.
Great moments to do this are:
(1) Do a Success/Failure Review. A third of the way into a coaching agreement, and again two thirds of the way through, ask your clients to list the results they’ve created – and how coaching helped them. Ask them to list their struggles and failures, the lessons learned, and how coaching helped them keep going through the hard moments.
(2) Do a Process Review. Whenever your clients achieve a great result, instead of praising them and moving on, get them to draw out the process that led to the successful outcome. Ask them which insights from their coaching had the biggest impact.
(3) Do a Past, Present, Future Review during the penultimate coaching session of every client:
- The Past: What was your life and business like one month or one year before you started coaching? (Sometimes they need reminding!)
- The Present: What has changed? What made the biggest impact?
- The Future: What would make the biggest impact to your life and business in the next 12 months?
Treat this session like an enrollment session with a new client, by helping them create a powerful roadmap for their next level of success.
A Past, Present, Future Review sows the seeds for your client to come to the conclusion that it’s time to renew. The question about the future also helps you decide if you’d still like to be coaching them on what they’re working on next.
6. An Audition Mindset
Let your clients know that it’s not a given that they can renew. They will need to enroll you…
4PC, my coaching mastermind, requires a Personal Internal Commitment that you’ll be a member for a minimum of 3 years. But I won’t let anyone pay in advance for 3 or more years because I’m constantly raising the bar. If they’re not playing a big enough game in 12 months, I won’t let them renew!
Here’s a powerful challenge: regularly raise your bar for new clients, so that in 18 months, 100% of your clients will be the caliber of your current top 20%.
7. Flexibility and Creativity
Offer various contract options tailored to your clients’ evolving needs. You can offer longer-term contracts at a special rate. You can also offer shorter contacts, or create unique programs, to match their changing situation.
Your flexibility and creativity can make renewal much more attractive.
8. Exclusive Benefits
Offer perks or bonuses that are only available to continuing clients.
And as long as you are a member of 4PC, you get access to almost every program I create. This includes access to Project Kairos, One Milllllion Dollars!, Money, Money, Money, and Master The Prosperous Coach Approach. That’s tens of thousands of dollars of additional value every year.
You can create additional value for your clients with anything from additional coaching support to exclusive resources and tools.
9. Social Proof
Constantly share stories or case studies from other clients who have benefited from extending their contracts.
Tell these stories in service of your client, so they don’t feel like marketing but they are designed to draw out a distinction or a tool that will support them.
Positive stories like this can really sway your clients’ decision-making.
Mix Your Clients… Invite newer clients to events where they can mingle with clients who have been with you for years. At your events, publicly acknowledge your longest-standing clients and let your newer clients get curious and approach them. This is what I call Advocate Marketing. Your very best clients sell your programs for you…
10. Unique Value Proposition
Help your clients understand what sets you apart from other coaches or consultants in your field. If they understand your unique value proposition, they may be more likely to renew.
For example, 4PC – my mastermind for the top 4% of coaches – has a track record of helping members sign $100K clients, and taking their business over the million dollar mark. But what sets us apart is two things:
(1) In 4PC You Come For Me, You Stay For The Community
I joke that 87.3% of the value of being in 4PC is from the other members and not from me! But ask anyone in 4PC and you’ll see that I’m not kidding. I curate the community and they all benefit from it. You are surrounded by people who stretch you and challenge you to grow. Many members of 4PC are still close friends 5-10 years after they first met. Many have created partnerships and generated hundreds of thousands of dollars of business as a result.
(2) In 4PC You Come for the Information, You Stay for the Transformation
If you want more success, or more money, or more influence, there are hundreds of books, podcasts and TED talks to check out. But if life was that simple, you could just read Richard Branson’s autobiography and you’d be a billionaire already!
4PC is a safe place – a brave space – to screw up, fail and make mistakes. After all, it’s the only way you really succeed. 4PC is where you’ll never be the most interesting person in the room (and for a top performer that’s a good thing). 4PC is where you (who are so good at resourcing others) get resourced yourself.
Get clear on how you stand out in the world so your clients can feel it in their bones.
11. Be Proactive
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Check in regularly to make sure the client is satisfied and to address any concerns they might have.
Remember to serve them, not please them. You’re their coach, not their friend. But resolving issues before they become major stumbling blocks can increase client satisfaction and increase the chance of renewal.
A great question to ask at the start of each coaching session is, “On a scale of 1-10, what would make today’s coaching experience an 11 for you?!”
12. Constantly Create Value
Regularly astonish and delight your clients. This can be as simple as calling them between sessions, sending them an interesting article to read, or gifting them a ticket to a coaching experience that you’ve created for other clients.
The 2 Hidden Reasons Your Clients Don’t Renew
- External Influences. Friends, family, or colleagues may subtly influence a client’s perception of the value of your coaching. They might plant seeds of doubt or suggest alternative routes, which could make them hesitant to renew – often without telling you.
I once helped a coach discover that his client didn’t renew because the client’s wife was devastated that she no longer felt like his confidant. She put pressure on him to complete and there was nothing the coach could do about it.
- Fear of Dependency. Some clients can worry about becoming too reliant on you as their coach, for decision-making or emotional support. They may choose not to renew the contract as a way to assert their independence, even if they found the coaching beneficial.
These hidden factors can be especially tricky to identify, as clients may not be open about them because they feel embarrassed.
What you can do instead is to preempt them…
Never let a client feel they are becoming dependent upon you, by constantly setting them challenges that grow and stretch them.
Regularly create blocks of time when you are unavailable so they can experience that they don’t “need” you.
Let me end where I began.
Sometimes a client is going to complete, no matter what… But if you are constantly investing in yourself, constantly learning and growing – and constantly stretching your clients to do the same – you’ll have all the clients you ever need.
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