Getting more clients will never make you successful unless you master this first.

Did you know that getting more clients is really only 49%(!!) of what you should be focusing on in order to build your dream client roster? The other 51% (and more important part) is really the art of retaining your clients for as long as you need to in order to get them the best result possible (and keeping them happy and fully committed during that time).

Cause even though having 10 sales calls booked every week with a consistently full roster sure sounds like the dream? What’s way better is filling your roster once, and keeping it full for 6-12 months while you build a nice little waitlist on the side for those who are eager to work with you when a coveted spot does open up again. Simply put? Growing in this way would actually allow you to gain the luxuries of:

  • More predictability and certainty in your monthly revenue (versus a schedule constantly in flux and dependent upon how many calls you can squeeze into your week)
  • Less stress about trying to re-sign clients who were never really committed to you or the process
  • Never worrying about whether your client is progressing week after week because you know they are bought into the long-term process with you and can see the bigger picture beyond a single weigh in or data point
  • Faster, dreamy sales calls because the people waiting to work with you are already sold before you talk
  • And so much more…

So I’m not sure what you value more – the illusion of success created by the never ending chase for “more” OR REAL success from becoming known as the best at what you do? But if you crave the latter, in this article I’m going to teach you my 3 step process to escaping the hustle for “more” and settling into a process inside of how you hold people through their journey with you that guarantee’s long-term retention and radical change in everyone you work with.

STEP #1 | Help Them Understand The Journey You’re Going To Be Taking Them On

How long you can keep you clients for initially depends on a very specific conversation you’ll have with them before they ever become a client. That’s right, although we’ve been taught that how much we charge them, how much we do for them, and how fast we can get them a result are the core factors influencing someone’s decision to work with us for 3 months versus 12? That’s actually no longer the case (if it ever really was?)

Truth be told, of there are coaches out there who don’t need to work with their clients for longer than 2-3 months – they stick to the “basics” and are really only looking for an end physical result. And if this is you? This article probably isn’t going to help you much, and that’s ok! There are millions of people out there looking for a “quick fix” program to get them going on their journey. But! If you want to become known for something…if you want to truly transform the lives of the people you’re working with…you simply cannot do that in 2-3 months. You need time to delve deeper into the inner workings of their minds, to locate the subconscious patterns making them do the things they wish they could stop, and to link all of that back to their food choices and how that’s impacting other areas of their life.

Expectations Are Everything!

Your first step with every client who starts with you moving forward is to help them understand what this journey is going to look like with you (and why this will be more meaningful to achieve the life they are truly chasing).

The thing is, at this point you must understand that very likely their only experience with coaching previously? Looked a lot more like the “quick fix” programs, and a lot less like what you have planned to do with them. In other words:

  • They are expecting you to give them the same stuff that their last program gave them (meal plans, daily monotonous check-ins, etc)
  • They are expecting to see fast weight loss
  • They are expecting to feel hungry and restricted
  • They are NOT expecting you to ask them about their triggers, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, etc. around food
  • They are NOT expecting to have to talk about their resistance to change, their relationships in their life, or where they are limiting themselves
  • The are absolutely NOT prepared to be vulnerable with you

So. If we don’t spend some time in our initial conversation rewriting some of their preconceptions about what this coaching relationship is going to feel like and how this journey is going to unfold? Unfortunately at about 2-3 months they are going to quit on you simply because where they will be at in their journey will not meet their previously held expectations – EVEN IF you had managed to help them achieve greater shifts in their mindset and their relationship to food AND if those shifts have generated positive (and healthy) losses for them – but why?

Prepping For The Retention Pre-Frame Conversation

Because, we behave in a predetermined way based on who we think we are and what we believe we need in order to uphold that sense of self. Which means, if we failed to attach meaning to the mindset shifts we created, the improved relationship with food they witnessed, or any other much deeper emotional or psychological shifts that had a positive impact on their life? Simply put – they won’t care. At least, not unless those things also gave them the 20 pound loss they were aiming for, the complete annihilation of their sugar cravings, and finally squeezing into their favorite pair of skinny jeans from the 80’s.

So then its up to us to help them look at (and question) their current beliefs (and expectations) of themselves, and replace them with new, more empowering expectations of the journey with you. Ultimately, people all operate the same way. They think they want to squeeze into the skinny jeans, but what they really want is the life they think they will have because that’s possible again. So in your initial conversation, this is your first goal.

  • What do they say they want to accomplish {ie: to fit into their fave skinny jeans again, to never crave sugar again, etc.}
  • What beliefs do they already have about how they think they need to live or what they think they need to do in order to get that
  • Why is that meaningful for them? What will their life look like and feel like, what will they be able to do that they feel they can’t right now, what would that change for them, etc?
  • Has this worked in the past for them, why or why not?
  • Is this ^^ actually true? (aka: if they say it “worked” in the past…did it really? Because if it did, they wouldn’t be talking to you now)
  • Hypothetically, do they believe the life they are chasing is possible even if they don’t {fit into their skinny jeans}? Why or why not?
  • Why do they believe all of the things they say they believe? (ie: why do you believe that you can’t eat carbs if you want to lose weight?)

And finally…

  • Would it be okay with you if I shared with you what I’m seeing? >> and this is your opportunity to explore with them why a longer term journey will serve them better…

…to highlight all of the internal work that needs to happen in order to support them in the life that they want to be living…

…to explore with them new beliefs about themselves and what is truly possible for them…

…and to get them excited about approaching their journey from an entirely new place.

Share What’s Going To Happen (& Get Their Buy-In 💯)

It sounds simple in theory…and you’re probably thinking “I do that already”, BUT >> There is a big difference between telling them that you are different, your program is different and their experience will be different than last time

…and getting them to full-body-buy-in to all of that as well. Besides, just because they say they want to pave their path to success with those big internal shifts you’re selling them on? Doesn’t mean that they wont still want to rush the process, lose weight faster and feel down about their progress even if they’re doing everything “right”.

The thing is, old conditioning dies hard. It takes repetition, and reminding and patience and space holding to help our clients look into the dark crevice’s where their patterns are lurking. So the best way to get ahead of those difficult conversations? Is to talk about them right here and now, before they ever become a client, before you’re ever faced with that scenario in session. It’s really as easy as telling them something like the following…

[SAVE THIS TO USE LATER👇👇👇]

Something I’d like to quickly chat about, now that I know we’re on the same page and that you’re fully committed to the uncomfortable work we’re going to be doing together, is what’s going to happen at different stages of this journey.

In the past, you were used to seeing fast progress in the programs you started and stopped…you’re used to feeling restricted, to following a plan that wasn’t designed for you. So as we venture down a new path that doesn’t look or feel like the ones you’re familiar with, you’re going to experience moments where you feel like you’re not progressing fast enough…where you wanted to see a bigger drop on the scale…where the off-scale progress you’re making doesn’t feel like it matters or like you’re not really changing all that much.

When in reality? A lot will be happening beneath the surface, and in those moments its really going to test your trust in yourself…your trust in me…and your ability to be vulnerable and transparent with me about what is coming up and how you’re feeling so that we can explore it together instead of those unspoken thoughts and feeling building into a sabotaging moment or resentment for the hard work you’re doing. Is that something you think you can do?

STEP #2 | Don’t Shrink Over Time, Hold Your Ground

There are a handful of reasons why coaches struggle to do this, even when they know what you do now:

  • They’re afraid of scaring their prospect away and losing the sale
  • They’re afraid of making them uneasy or creating an uncomfortable situation
  • They’re afraid that the client won’t see the value in what they are doing for them if they don’t get them fast result
  • They’re afraid of letting the client down or failing them
  • They just don’t know what to say when a client starts to get frustrated or feels like they aren’t progressing as fast as they should be

If any of these scenarios are sounding a little familiar 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️, I’d like to offer a perspective shift that might change things for you in this, and many other “tricky to navigate” client scenarios in the future >> your fear is based on an assumption about what you think will happen because of YOUR conditioning. That’s right, just like your clients have been conditioned to believe certain things about how their journey should look – so too have you. Which means, before entering into these conversations I would suggest you take some time to reflect inwards first.

USE THESE QUESTIONS AS YOUR GUIDE 👇👇

Why do I feel I need to rush their result even if I know its not what’s best for them?

Why do I try to control the outcome…what am I afraid will happen if I don’t live up to what I promised them?

What is it that I feel responsible for in my client relationships? Where did I learn those things were my responsibility?

What is the standard I hold myself to? Is this high vibe or low vibe? What would be a higher vibe standard to embrace as a coach?

What beliefs and rules do I need to let go of in order to coach my clients in this way?

Ultimately, you must be willing to look at your own conditioned reactions to their resistance. Let’s face it, it doesn’t feel awesome to know that our client isn’t fully bought into the plan we meticulously crafted for them. However, understand that their resistance really isn’t to you even though that’s where they’re directing it. Their resistance is really about releasing control, leaving the safety of what they’ve always known, stripping away an older version of themselves, and opening themselves up to discovering a new version. Don’t make it about you by assuming you need to defend yourself. Simply, and gently, welcome in this resistance, open up a dialogue about it and see if you can’t wade through those murky waters together as a team.

Have This Conversation Weekly

As you move through the coaching journey with your client, it will be normal for your client to periodically fall back into past patterns of wanting faster results, even though they truly do want the long term changes originally discussed. This isn’t happening because they are growing impatient with you, with your plan, or even with the results that they are seeing. This is happening because of the way they have been conditioned to expect change to take place. There are 3 ways I have found to quickly correct our clients mindset in these instances and get them back on our team:

1. Re-Attach Meaning Often

Make it a habit to consistently be attaching and reaffirming (a) why their plan looks the way it does, (b) how this is going to bring them where they want to be, (c) what they can expect to experience, and finally – but most importantly (d) ask them to reflect back to you from their perspective how taking the  advice or action steps you provided is meaningful to them. If any of these are unclear, the client will be more likely to fall back into past patterns as a default because even though rushing progress isn’t serving their long term life-goals…it feels comfortable, within their control and safe.

2. Call Out Resistance As It Happens

Start paying attention to your clients resistance “tells”. In other words – how do you know your client isn’t fully bought into what you’re telling them? Resistance often triggers defensive thoughts, angry dialogue, and “all or nothing” behavior patterns in nutrition clients. So then, during moments of resistance our default is to resort back to past patterns, as mentioned above, which means that if we don’t pull their resistance to the surface and address it as it happens, the chances of our clients feeling frustrated with their progress, with our plan and with us increases exponentially. Some common ways to tell if your client is apprehensive about your plan to take things slow and work on healing them from the inside-out are as follows:

  • timid or quiet energy (demonstrating uncertainty or lack of trust/understanding)
  • scowling or frowning face
  • literally “pulling back” or slouching in their seat
  • defending past behaviors
  • consistently circling back to weight loss outcomes in conversation
  • beating themselves up for a lack of physical progress
  • reactive thoughts or behaviors when things don’t go the way they wanted, etc

So then, when we notice these things happening, what should we do? The goal is to figure out (a) what they are afraid of losing by approaching things in this way, (b) what they are afraid of happening that they don’t feel prepared for and (c) what they need to let go of (thoughts, beliefs etc) in order to fully trust in this process. Try using the following question in all scenarios to open up the conversation around their resistance and create an access point to explore it deeper with them:

I can feel some resistance coming up around {insert topic of discussion}, would you mind if I asked what’s coming up for you right now – what are you thinking/how are you feeling/what about this feels scary?

Step #3 | Nail The “Continuation Conversation”

The best way to nail the “continuation” or “re-sign” conversation actually starts with the way you set up the structure of your program, and how you sell people into it. There are endless ways to set up the pricing and duration structure of our programs – and to say I’ve tried them all is no understatement. But by far the best way I have found to set up my programming to maximize client commitment, retention and results? Is actually also the most simple:

  1. Let your prospect know that you have a 3 month minimum commitment for all new clients because the nature of the work that you’ll be doing together requires you to have the space and time to explore the depths of what’s really causing them to think, feel and act in the ways that they are – and narrow down the best way for them to effectively create transformation there.
  2. And then, you’ll let them know that the goal is to get them to a place within those 3 months where if they chose to continue executing on their own then they would have what they would need to be able to do so, but that if you decide together that its best to continue supported them with their progress beyond the initial 3 months, that they will simply be billed month to month with no commitment and that when they feel ready to go out on their own, t0 just let you know and you will cancel their payments.

This ^^ accomplishes a couple of things:

  • First, we get an initial short term commitment – people feel much more comfortable with a shorter term commitment (because remember – this is what they have been conditioned to expect).
  • Second, we let them know that their journey will not be done at 3 months in an indirect way which gets them to subconsciously buy-in to a longer duration with (or without) you.
  • And Thirdly, it let’s them know that your time together isn’t necessarily over at 3 months – that continuing on together will be a conversation that you will initiate and that you will decide together as a team what the best next step forward is for them.

The last step is where most coaches get it all wrong. You must always remember that “expectation is everything” – which means if you sell them into a “3 month program” then the unwritten expectation is that “I will be done at 3 months” or worse “I will reach my goal in 3 months”. This mistake is what causes the “re-sign” conversation to feel extra turbulent. By pre-framing them in the way outlined above, this conversation becomes expected and re-signing east!

Initiating The “Continuation Conversation”

At around the 2 week-mark from the time their 3 month initial commitment is set to expire is when you want to initiate this conversation. Remember, you have already pre-framed them prior to this moment, so starting the conversation should feel easy and natural. The key here is to speak with the intention of their communication. This means, speaking into the future as if you will be joining them there.

Bridge The Gap For Them

They want to know you see where they’re at, what they’ve accomplished (and what they didn’t). They want you to validate that they aren’t where they want to be yet and give them permission that that is okay. Don’t be afraid to pull to the surface these facts and look at them together.

  • What did they accomplish? Speak to these first
  • What didn’t they accomplish? Pull these forward next openly and honestly.
    •  “I know we were working towards {insert goal here} and we aren’t quite there yet. How do you feel about this?”
  • What is your plan to get them there?

Your client doesn’t want to hear “let’s just keep doing what we’re doing”, they want to know that you are actively engaged in the process and thinking ahead to what the next steps will be. Map out a tentative 3 month plan and propose to them what you think next steps could look like if you were to continue working together. And then, simply ask: “how does that feel for you?” – if they confirm that it feels good, then you are ready to get confirmation.

Getting Confirmation

The last step to retaining your client for the long-haul is to get their confirmation that they would like to enter into a recurring monthly partnership with you. In other words – get permission to bill them recurring until they say to “stop”. At this stage, you should already have their payment information in your system so that you can initiate auto-billing on their account. To get confirmation to move forward, the line that works seamlessly for me is:

“I’m so glad you agree with me. So then, to move forward together to work on executing that plan, would it be okay with you if we kept our scheduled calls the same? And is the card we have on file still the best one to use?”

Simple, to the point, and (most of all) clear.

In Summary

Retaining your clients comes down to vulnerability, open and clear communication, and a willingness on your part to recognize resistance and help them to look at their past conditioning and habitual reactions to their progress. If you can nail these 3 steps, your retention will skyrocket. And because of that? You’ll be well on your way to laying the firmest of foundations for a truly scalable business that no longer sucks you dry and burns you out. Congrats, coach!

And to help you navigate this, plus 15 other pivotal coaching moments?? I created the Coaching Conversation Revelation for you to download for FREE.

With this, you’ll quickly be able to dig into the top 15 “make or break” client conversations without ever worrying about saying the wrong thing or suggesting the wrong strategy.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY


And lastly, when you feel ready, I’d love to help you with this more closely inside of TriggerMapping – my certification and mentorship program where I work hands-on with a group of nutrition coaches to show them how to graduate from “just another nutritionist”…and become known as the go-to expert for creating life-altering transformation at the deepest level in every client they work with…

…plus show them how this level of mastery organically allows you to…

🤑charge the kind of money the pro’s do (we’re talking 1K/month here, love)…

📣keep your clients for as long as you want so you can escape the revolving door of clients coming in and going out

🙋🏼‍♀️have a waitlist of people who will pay you in advance just to save their spot in line

🌟only work w/ the clients who are ready for the deep work you’ve always wanted dig into without battling resistance or pushback

💫align your coaching program with how you want to serve your clients and live your life

💖walk away from every single coaching session with a deep knowing that you left your client a different person because of what you just did with them…aka: coaching crack

I mean, just think about it like this for a second.

You know that old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?”

Well what if…you really could make it drink?

That’s exactly what I’m going to be teaching you to do with your clients.

So if you feel ready to be so much more than what you were traditionally conditioned to think was possible for you?

👉🏼Just fill out this short 2 minute application form to let me know where you’re currently at. 

I’ll reach out to you and ask you a few questions to see if I can help…If I can, I’ll shoot all the details over to you.

Thanks for reading! And be talking soon.

xx Laura

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