Your client paid for their sessions, up front and in full. YAY! That’s great. But now, all you hear are crickets. You’ve tried reaching out several times to move them forward in your coaching process, but they are unreachable. You are being ghosted. Or maybe every time they respond, it is only to reschedule for some date a few months away. That’s not so great.
If this description fits one of your clients, here are a few things to keep in mind and ways to move the process forward.
Lead with Compassion and Concern in Your Outreach
You never know what may be going on in the life and mind of a client, especially if you’re new to this relationship. If they’re not responding to your Don’t assume it’s about you. Sound familiar? We’ve given this advice before. That’s because it’s so important you don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Your client may have just had a major life event happen and because this relationship is so new, letting you know may not be on top of his or her mind.
So reach out again, but this time with compassion and concern. Here’s a sample way to phrase that email:
It’s me, checking in again. My last few emails have gone unanswered, so I wanted to ask if everything is ok? I’ve been worried since I haven’t heard from you. As your coach, I’m here to help and support you, so please let me know how I can best do that, even if it means backing off for a little bit. And I want to acknowledge that while coaching sessions can sometimes feel like one more stressor when something is going on, often times clients tell me they feel better afterward because I help them to focus and know there’s financially nothing to worry about. I’m your coach through the good and the bad so if something is going on, I hope you know you can share it with me. I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully meeting with you soon. If you could just drop me a note back and let me know you’re OK, I’d appreciate it.”
See. Compassion and concern. It doesn’t place blame. It doesn’t make assumptions. And the ask is simple. All you really want is a response back to know everything is ok.
By sending these words to your client, you’re acknowledging that they may be going through something or they may be hesitant to move forward with coaching. Either way, you give them an opening to voice their concerns and feel less stressed and less stuck.
Set Clear Client Expectations if Further Follow Up is Needed
Hopefully, this elicits a response, but it might not. If so, you still need to stay in communication, but the next time you reach out, set clear expectations of your relationship going forward.
If two weeks go by and you still have not heard from your client or they keep rescheduling, it’s time to draft another message. Be kind but assertive:
I help clients who (list your main service offering) and I can only help them by having regular and consistent meetings and conversations. I want to help you too, so please reach out to me by X date to let me know if you are still interested in coaching. If I have not heard from you by then, I will assume the answer is no and will not email again.
Have Your Financial Coaching Policies in Writing
If you still don’t hear back from your client, it becomes very important that you have a place in your contract that covers this exact scenario in order to protect your business and your time. You’ll need to clearly spell how who is and is not entitled to a refund and what time restraints are placed on that.
Have in your contract that there are no refunds on prepaid sessions and that sessions must be scheduled with X months of committing to coaching. So, for example, we have a 4-month financial coaching program. We say in our contact that our coaching sessions must be used within 6 months of booking our services. Stating this gives us some flexibility (and leniency for our clients, if need be) but it’s not a free-for-all. People cannot endlessly put off their session and then expect to still use our services years from now.
If you found this article helpful, please let us know. And if you have an idea for a future Tough Client Conversations post, please let us know. We know coaching clients can be challenging. It’s why we created the Financial Coach Academy. If you need help managing clients and want ways to streamline your financial coaching business, check out the Financial Coach Academy.