How to Fire a Client

There is a lot of talk (including on here) about how to get a new client. But, there is not much chatter about how to fire a client. And, it’s not because no client ever needs to be fired. In fact, I think plenty of clients out there probably do. But, if you’re struggling to grow your business or you don’t have solidly policies in place or worse, you have policies in place but you don’t uphold them firing a client is harder than finding a new one. However, I firmly believe that while you are in the “service” industry (meaning you provide a service) you are not “of service” to others. And, you should be treated with the same amount of respect as you show your clients. So, how do you fire a client?

Lets talk about why you would fire a client:

  1. They do not follow policies even after repeated discussions about following policies.
  2. They are verbally or physically abusive to you or other clients.
  3. They do not pay on time or pay for their late cancels (see #1).
  4. They want times you cannot/do not offer (firing may seem like a strong word for this instance).
  5. They’re expectations, pressure on you or Pilates is unrealistic.

If you have multiple clients who are breaking your policies or treating you badly it’s important that you reflect on how you may have created this opportunity.

Do you have policies in place?

Were they given verbally and in written form?

Did the client sign and agree to them?

When they broke them the first time did you address it?

No one deserves to be treated badly and if you don’t have strong policies or an agreement people should still be awesome humans and treat you with decency. But, truth is we train people how to treat us. So, before you fire your entire line up of clients put together a list of rules and procedures. Put it in writing, have your clients agree to these and then when they break them address how they broke them. Uphold the policy.

If the client values you they will likely apologize and continue you on understanding the repercussions. If they don’t and they moan, whine, complain, or worse then you know there is no changing them.

Firing a client no matter how much they deserve it is not easy though. You are in fact confronting someone and also saying no to money. Something most people do not find easy. But, if you want to have a thriving career (part-time or full time) you want to make sure that the priority of you staying protected, valued and inspired is there.

Most clients when you uphold your policies who do not want to follow your rules will fire themselves. Keep this in mind. If you are holding firm on your boundaries, cancellation policies, rate increases and more then they’ll likely make up and excuse and simply stop.

But, there is the rare occasion of the completely oblivious, non-observant, blissfully unaware person who not only treats you badly or doesn’t follow rules that will need to have an actual firing.

I have had to do this one time for myself and a few times for teachers who worked for me in the past for various reasons. Some client rule-breaking is so off-putting there is no need for a warning conversation. Abuse is one of those things and you’ll have to decide for yourself what level of abuse you will have a warning conversation about and which ones you will fire immediately. But, do make sure you have a client agreement of what types of behavior will and won’t be tolerated.

When I fired a client who could be slightly verbally abusive the teacher felt like the client didn’t know they were being that way. So, I had a conversation with the client telling examples of things said that would no longer be tolerated. They apologized and then two sessions later repeated the transgression. The teacher on the spot addressed it. (Which was very brave and can be hard to do). The client didn’t agree they had broken this rule. I had to thank the client for coming but helped refer her to another studio where a teacher might be more to their liking. Her sessions were refunded.

The client I had to fire was someone who was mostly nice. But, every other session she would try to move her time around the same day. And, that was annoying, not a reason to fire but took extra time out of my days.

Then this same client would text me at random hours of the day and night asking non-Pilates questions. When I addressed her not texting me outside of rescheduling her session before 24 hours prior to her session and not for any other reason she said: “she never bothered me.”

She would early cancel every 3rd session by minutes. And then when I told her I could no longer uphold her standing appointment because she had missed it for 2 months. She said that it was because I missed.

It was clear that no matter what evidence I showed her and no matter how much I upheld my policies she was never going to. So, I refunded her what was left of her package and gave her the referral info of teachers who might be better suited for her.

It wasn’t easy. She was combative in email. She lied. She did everything she could to stay on as a client. And, firing her was one of the best things I did. It wasn’t just the two-three sessions a week of time I got back. It was the time around the sessions too.

And, I was able to make room in my schedule for two other clients who are doubly better as humans to be around. Inspiring to teach. Who never ask me to discount them or break a rule.

I know it’s hard to get rid of a client. Saying “no” to money is really hard. Especially if you don’t have a client to replace them with right away. But, once you do you’ll have created space that the universe will fill with an even better client.

So, go ahead and fire them! But first, make sure you’ve done your due diligence to make it easy for them to fire themselves. AKA you must create and uphold policies in your business and train your clients on how to treat you. Sound ok? And if they don’t remember what Ice Cube said, “Bye Felecia.” #blockthemandblessthem

xx~LL

Ps if you need help creating rules around your rates, cancellations, studio use etc. Contact me here. Your business’s strength is only as strong as the foundation it is built on.

 

How to Prepare for a New Client

First impressions are important. And, when it comes to a new client engaging with you or your studio it’s even more integral. When someone comes in for their first class or session 60% of the decision to start a new fitness regimen is made. All you have to do is help them decide that it is you. Here are my tips for scheduling and teaching a new client.

  1. Make it easy for them: Is it clear on your site what to do next? How to schedule? What you offer?
  2. Tell them what to do: Don’t offer them all the times in the world you have or ask them when they want to get started. Train them from the beginning to schedule their life around Pilates with you.
  3. Have a “what to expect” email: Whether they sign up over the phone, email or via text be sure to send them an email that tells them your policies, what to expect, wear, park etc..
  4. Know their why.
  5. Forget about selling Pilates. They just need to trust that you’re the person who can help them.
  6. Follow up even if they said they don’t want to do Pilates. Send them a thank you note.
  7. Remember that their first package is still the courting process. Hold them accountable to their sessions, consistency and goals.
  8. Train them how to treat you and the studio. If your policies are broken you have to uphold them. It’s not a fun convo but it’s most important in the beginning.
  9. Don’t take things personally. Whether a client loves Pilates, doesn’t, late cancels or quits it’s not personal. Read the 4 agreements. You’re not for everyone and that is ok.
  10. Know when you want to teach, where and whom. It’s your business and you’ll get more clients that inspire you when you’re clear on these things. Not everyone is for you and that’s ok.

It’s easy to get caught up on selling Pilates or the training  to the new client. But, the truth is you are the guide. Your studio is the community. If you are clear on who you are for, what you offer it makes it easier for your future clients to decide on you too. And, then help them out by making sure your site, how you schedule them and prep them makes it easy for them to know you are the expert at what you do.

For more tips on first time clients check out this blog and this course. For coaching on converting first time clients for you or your studio contact me here.

xx~LL

Tips For Going Live on Social

Connecting to your audience is key in marketing online these days. And, with millions more people following Instagram stories, and Facebook stories depending on your audience and goals it could be necessary for you. Going Live on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms is not new. But, lately, I have been receiving lots of questions about this topic. So, below find my go-to tips that will not only help you go Live but feel comfortable doing it.

Choose the Platform: There are many platforms you can use for going Live. It’s important that you pick the one (or ones) that your ideal client or audience is on. Use your analytics to show you who your followers are, ie. gender, age, location etc. The one that has more of your ideal client on it is the one I would do these lives on. If you love Tik Tok but your clients are above the age of 50 going you’d be shouting from the rooftops in a deserted city.

Announce it: I don’t often have time to pre-announce my lives but when I do I always have more viewers. So, even if you do it an hour or so before on your socials it would help you feel like you are actually talking to people.

Have a Topic in Mind: What do you want to go Live about? What do you want those watching to do after they go live? Nothing feels more awkward than going live, having just a couple live viewers and not feeling ready. Even if you just want to answer peoples questions have some questions in your mind you can answer so that you’re not just hanging out there.

Ask people to comment: Tell people what to do so that they stay engaged.
Giveaway the good stuff at the beginning: Like a blog, people want to know if it’s in it for them. So, tell them the “answer” at the beginning and then go into the what and how after.

Collaborate: Go live with another teacher or client! On many platforms, you can go live with other people from different locations. I love to call into people’s IG’s and answer questions from their audience.
Look at the dot: Yeah, the dot on your phone is the eyes of your viewer.

Smile more than you think!

Capture it correctly: If going Live on IG it’s a vertical video. If you go live on FB you can do both horizontal or vertical. But, if you plan on posting your live on Youtube you’ll want to film it horizontally.
Have fun! The first time you do it will be weird. Delete it if you don’t love it. And, then try again the next day. The more you do it the easier it gets. Think about teaching for the first time.

Do you need to go live? Nope, not at all. Again, it depends on your goals for your business and your audience. But, it is a fun way to engage with your audience and hopefully, your audience is a lot of people in your community.

Where do you like to go live? I’d love to hear your favorite platforms and what you like to talk about below.

If you want more support on choosing the right platform and what to talk about then contact me here. Let’s set up a game plan for you!

xx~LL