How To Handle Awkward Conversations With Ease
As a solopreneur, there will come a time when you need to have an awkward conversation with one of your clients.
It can be uncomfortable and if you’re caught unprepared it’s easy for you to not know exactly what to say. Because coaching often involves private conversations some clients can forget that you are a professional and it might be time to tighten up your personal boundaries.
Make sure your coaching agreement spells out, in detail, your policies around fees, no shows and last-minute cancellations. It’s your business and any leeway you give is completely your decision. However, notice if you are feeling irritated or disrespected it’s a sign that your boundaries may have slipped.
Here are some examples of the situations which may spark the need for an awkward discussion:
- Your client is late or repeatedly late
- Your client is a no show
- Your client hasn’t paid their invoice
- Someone wants to pick your brain i.e. Get coaching for free
- Someone wants a discount on your fee
One of the easiest ways to deal with these types of situations is to prepare in advance. Know that one, or all of these, situations will happen. Decide now how you will respond when it does. Have a script, that you will either speak from or a standard email that you will send.
When you’re prepared, it will allow you to respond promptly and appropriately. If you’re feeling irritated, worried or frustrated this tone can come through in your communication. Preparing in advance allows you to proactively decide how you want to handle these scenarios.
Your business may only have one employee…you. But it’s vital to treat your business as the large established business it will be in the future. When you have this mindset, your clients will come to have it too, and they will respect your boundaries and policies.
It’s true that unforeseen circumstances happen. Perhaps an emergency has delayed them, a sick child or their phone is broken. Ensure that your follow up graciously allows that this might be the case while you kindly and firmly enforce your policies.
Here are a few ideas for standard responses for the most common sticky situations.
Your client is late or repeatedly late.
Have a standard email that you send 5-10 minutes after the start of their scheduled time. Remind them this time is set aside exclusively for them. If they show up late, welcome them and let them know that your call will still end at the appointed time.
Your client is a no show.
Send them your standard, “I notice you are late for our appointed time” email. Follow up with a second email after the scheduled time is over and outline the consequence that is shown in your policies.
Your client hasn’t paid their invoice.
Ensure your payment terms are captured in your coaching contract and on your invoice. On the day after the invoice is due, follow up with a reminder note, and another a few days after that.
Make it easy for them to pay. Provide them with options such as Paypal, e-transfer, Visa or Mastercard.
If your client has defaulted, you may decide to place the coaching on hold until they have paid.
Better still, have all coaching packages paid for in advance so you don’t have to become a bill collector.
Someone wants to pick your brain i.e. Get coaching for free.
This one can be tough because it can be sneaky. Someone may ask if you want to grab coffee together and before you know it they are asking for your help. Your skills are valuable and your knowledge is valuable. Yes, it’s important to be generous and kind, however, it’s not okay to feel obliged to give your service away for free.
A few of many options to choose from:
-Allow for one 10-minute laser coaching session for individuals who want to pick your brain. Kindly and firmly remind them coaching is a valuable service and you will help them out this one time. Set your timer and finalize the coaching when the time is up.
-Tell them you are flattered they value your coaching. Take the approach that they must want to be a paying client and suggest they sign up for a regular coaching session so you can dedicate this time to them to really help them move forward.
-When they ask to be coached, smile and kindly decline. You can say “I appreciate your request but I am not in a position to offer free coaching at this time. “
Someone wants a discount on your fee
This often happens with potential clients who do quick math and decide that coaching is expensive based on a per hour rate. They don’t know the time and energy you have invested to become a skilful coach. They also may not be aware that the value of coaching happens as they put what they’ve learned into action between coaching sessions.
Now, as always, it’s completely up to you how to handle these requests.
It is also completely ok for you to politely say “No, I’m not offering discounts at this time.”
Be careful that you are not letting your inner critic devalue the service you provide. You deserve to make a good income, you are well trained and experienced.
However, if you are not as busy as you would like, and you are willing to make less while you build your expertise. Make sure that if you do decide to cut your rates you are specific about how much you will discount and that it is a one-time offer. I recommend including these details in your coaching agreement.
Well, I hope these ideas are the trigger you need to take steps now to minimize the number of tricky situations you experience. Did you notice the most common theme was to make sure your coaching agreement (contract) clearly outlines your policies about payment, late cancellation (no shows), and late appointments? Take the time now to proactively prepare. It will allow you to avoid many uncomfortable business situations.
As an additional bonus, I've created a FREE swipe file with the email templates that I use for all of these uncomfortable situations. It's a great resource and I'm happy to share it with you.
Grab Your FREE PDF Here: >>>>> https://candymotzek.lpages.co/how-to-handle-awkward-conversations-by-email-content-upgrade/