Do you ever wonder whether a client is going continue on with you when they start to approach the end of their agreement?
It can be a tricky situation to deal with.
On one hand, you may want to keep working with that person.
On the other, you may not know how to make the case for them continuing on.
Let's talk about why client loyalty is so important and how to create more of it...
Why Repeat Business Is So Important
If you were to look at the backend of most successful businesses, you would find that the majority of their profit comes from repeat customers, not new ones.
This is because it's always more expensive to get a new client than to keep an old one.
If all you're doing is churning new people through your three month coaching program and none of those people are continuing on in the form of a monthly retainer or higher-end offering, you're going to constantly be spending time and money to refuel that system.
On the other hand, if each of your clients has a high "lifetime value", meaning that their first experience with you is just one of many, you'll find that your marketing becomes easier over time (not harder).
This is especially important if you're just starting out, since most new coaches I know don't have the budget or the desire to spend money on ads.
What Exactly Creates Client Loyalty
There are really two factors that determine whether a client will keep signing up with you:
- The quality of your coaching
- The client experience
Let's break each of these down, because on the surface they can seem pretty similar.
The quality of your coaching is about how competent you are at actually working with the person. Are you present? How good are your questions? Do you have expertise to offer? All of these things can be improved with training and experience. I even have a short cheat sheet I put together called "The 20 Commandments of Powerful Coaching" to help you with this:
The client experience is influenced by the quality of your coaching, but it's not the same thing. You can improve the client experience by understanding the journey that your client takes, from the perspective of your client, and then making that journey as enjoyable as possible. In the same way you can have a world-renowned doctor with terrible bedside manner and an unresponsive staff, you can be a great coach and still provide a bad client experience.
3 Keys To Getting More Repeat Business
Here are a few things you can do to improve the experience for your clients:
1. Keep momentum, especially at the beginning. Coaching is a big investment for most people, and the time between signing up and that first session can be really scary. Make sure you schedule that first session as soon as possible (one week max) and that you give them something to do while they wait (intake forms are always good for this). You'll also need to help them get through the dip that often occurs in the middle of an engagement when things get hard and they aren't seeing results yet.
2. Personalize your service as much as possible. Your ability to customize your coaching and client experience is one of the things that can help set you apart from bigger companies. We all want to be seen for who we really are, so the more you can do that for your clients, the better. Send them a hand written letter when they sign up. Ask for feedback midway through. Send them a book you think they would like as they come to the end of their original agreement.
3. Make it easy for them to say "yes." The best way to help a client re-enroll in your coaching is to block off 15 minutes or so to talk about what's next for them. Ask them what they think their biggest challenge is now, and what their vision is moving forward. Then, offer them a way to keep working with you that doesn't feel so intimidating. Converting your original agreement to a smaller monthly retainer can work well here because it typically costs less, takes less of your time, and lets you set the stage for a long-term partnership instead of having to keep selling them 3-6 month packages.
The Bottom Line
It's easy to want to focus on attracting new clients when you aren't making the money you want to in your business. But if you're already working with a small batch of clients, sometimes the best thing you can do for your marketing is to focus on serving your existing clients more deeply.
What can you do this week to improve your coaching and client experience?