This is one of those not-super sexy topics, but if you’re in this right now and this is happening to you, this will be a lifesaver.Today we’re discussing what to do when a client isn’t paying you, trying to step out of their contract, or wants to break their commitment to working together.
Nothing is more frustrating than doing all the work to cultivate a client and creating a deep connection bringing them through until they say YES…
but then there’s silence.
It can be frustrating and stressful when someone doesn’t follow up or attempts to back out of a contract or commitment. These situations can leave you feeling defeated, triggered, anxious, and unsure of what to do…
Here’s the good news… there’ s a way to turn these moments into powerful growth opportunities that will take your leadership (and biz) to the next level
The tools and strategies I share with you on today’s podcast will help you move through these situations with integrity and grace (while ultimately strengthening your relationships with your current and future clients!)
When you approach these conversations in a heartfelt and aligned way, the client on the other end will often thank you and have a big YES to working with you. They end up feeling a deeper connection with you as a mentor.
I know many entrepreneurs experience people doing chargebacks, canceling their payment plans, not wanting to follow through on their commitments, canceling sessions, or not showing up. And over the past ten years, this has RARELY happened to me, and the key to my success has been setting these four key things up right from the beginning.
#1 – You want your contract to be crystal clear
Pre-framing is so much better than reframing. Get your expectations, and commitment solidified and clarified upfront. This will save you SO many headaches down the road.
Contracts are essential to have in your business. It’s a way to really “go Pro” and, most importantly, solidify clear communication and expectations upfront with your clients.
I know sometimes there’s resistance around this because we don’t know what to do for a contract or don’t want to deal with it, so we don’t use them and end up with looser containers with our clients.
Having a contract is like having a lease when paying rent. Without a lease, people will find reasons to leave early. But with a lease and knowing that they are committed to paying rent until a specific date puts them in a very clear state energetically, mentally, and legally.
Having a contract in place helps your client wrap their head around the commitment and protect you legally in the future as well. You want to make sure that you send the contract to sign as soon as they say yes; that’s one of the first emails that go out. When they say yes, have them commit to you, the relationship, and most importantly, to themselves.
In your contract, you want to include things like…
*What happens if they don’t do the work or show up; are they still responsible for paying you?
*Are you responsible in any way if you decide to cancel the contract?
You want the contract to be really clear.
Check out this episode with Kat O’Neil, a small business lawyer, for more information about what to include in your client contracts.
We also have “Done for You” legal contracts inside the Aligned Female Entrepreneur. It’s one of the bonuses you get for free when you join! 😊
#2 – Set up automatic payments
Using Venmo or sending invoices can make your client question the investment every time they make a payment.
Anytime anyone has to take out their credit card and make a payment or press the buttons that say YES, I want to submit this payment, it will cause them to think about it more and more and more, and they might even avoid your invoice because they are in that resistance.
On the other hand, they’re locked in when you set up an automatic payment from the beginning, not in an aggressive way but just solidifying that commitment with their first payment from the start.
So, once you have the credit card on file, you have their permission to process the payment or set up recurring payments. You can set it and forget it! It makes it so much easier for everyone.
#3 – Keep a tight container
It’s so important that people make their commitment, sign their contract, and make their payment right away. That’s holding a very tight container. They’re feeling empowered, courageous, and committed.
You also want to get them on your calendar (I call this a “stick strategy)”. Have them put it on their calendar when they are meeting with you to help solidify the container as well.
Creating a container provides safety and security for clients to feel confident investing in themselves and to hold them so that they don’t have this moment of “Oh my god, what have I done?”, “What was I thinking?”
When you let people have too loose of a container, you have holes in your container, or letting too much time go between the yes and then bringing them in powerfully through these strategic action steps, or maybe you have a few sessions, and then oops, you didn’t reach out to them to reschedule. That’s when they can start to have fear, confusion, or self-doubt about if they made the right decision.
This is why it is so important to send some juicy details in a welcome letter letting them know they made the right decision and will get so much out of working with you. Give them a list of the dates that they are meeting with you. Tell them what to do next – a little bit of homework. Send them a book in the mail. Give them bonus training to work on. Give them something to do so they can see some quick wins before going further with you.
We go into this in-depth in the Aligned Female Entrepreneur.
#4 – When there is doubt – get on the phone.
Do not try to bring people back into paying you to honor their commitment through e-mail.
Try to have a real human connection and connect voice-to-voice on the phone whenever possible.
HOT TIP: phone calls convert much higher than e-mail by ten times the amount!
It can be easy to ignore an e-mail or put it at the bottom of their To-Do List. But when they’re on a phone call they can hear that you’re an actual person, when they can be reminded by your energy and why they want to work with you and why they want to make this commitment and what they really believe in for themselves, that will reawaken their vision.
Here are some examples of some things that I’ve noticed that have come up with some of my VIP clients this week and some women in The Aligned Female Entrepreneur and how we dealt with it effectively so that you can do the same!
The client is not responding, and they haven’t signed the contract.
This is a tough one. They said yes on the phone; you sent them the contract and the link to make the payment, and they have not paid or signed.
The first thing you want to do is give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t make up stories in your head. Always see your client as the most resourceful. Love on them, and believe in them because when you hold that space, it creates a bit more understanding and compassion.
Don’t write them a shameful email… just a friendly “I wanted to check in; I am excited to begin our work together!” email. Remind them how they wanted support and accountability.
I just wanted to check-in. I’m super excited to begin our work together!
I know how important you said it was for you to have accountability and support, so I just wanted to show up and let you know I’m here for you.
I do need you to make the payment and sign your contract by Friday so that we can secure your spot and get started. I’m really looking forward to it!
If you have any questions or any hesitations coming up, feel free to reply to this e-mail.
If they don’t respond or sign up, then you will need to follow up.
I hope everything’s OK. I haven’t heard from you, and I just wanted to make sure that you got the emails that I sent. I wonder if it would make sense to connect briefly and address any hesitations that have come up?
I have some time on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (give them a couple of times). Would either of those work for you?
I just want to make sure that I answer any of your questions and that you’re feeling really confident making your next step and stepping into the program.
This allows you to:
-bring them onto a phone call
-reawaken the vision
-find out what is going on for them
-Share that you don’t offer refunds and honor your contracts (this is HUGE) – but want to find a way to make this work for them – how can you work together?
If they still don’t reply after a couple of days, I would send an email letting them know that you wanted to check in one final time.
I just wanted to check in one final time.
I haven’t gotten a response to my previous emails and wanted to make sure you’re getting them and also that everything is OK. If you could just let me know that all is well, that would be great, even if you know that now is not the right time for us to work together.
If you could just let me know either way, I would appreciate it just so that we’re clear and I can close the invitation for coaching.
They have signed the contract, and they haven’t paid, or maybe they paid a deposit but then are not responding to the next steps.
Ideally, it would be best to schedule a phone call with them to understand the situation better. It’s essential to assume positive intent and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Hey, Sally, I just wanted to check-in.
The group is starting on Monday, and as of now, we have you in the group; we have your contract and your commitment, although we haven’t received your first payment, so I wanted to hop on a phone call with you and just make sure everything is still feeling good and see how I can support you moving forward.
And if they’re like, “No, I’m good, I’m just not going to do it,” then you’re going to want to definitely bring them on the phone and say, at this point, since you have signed the contract, you are considered “in” for the program.
Share that your ideal is not to hold them in the program against their will or have them do something that’s not feeling right.
And again, you want to…
-bring them onto a phone call
-reawaken the vision
-find out what is stopping them (money? life circumstances? fear? doubt? etc.)
You want to listen and really understand what’s going on for them and what type of resistance is showing up for them.
Are they thinking it’s a money thing? A timing thing?
Are they overwhelmed and not feeling confident in themselves and investing in this way?
Consider some other options for them:
- If its money – an extended payment plan
- If it’s life – give them extended access
- If it’s just don’t want to – ask them to honor their commitment
You want to figure out… how can I go over and above for my client?
In the long run, it’s not about chasing people down to get them to pay you money; it’s about really establishing trust, clear communication boundaries, a sense of respect for each other, and communicating effectively to figure out how you can get their needs met while honoring the integrity of your commitments.
I’d love to hear from you. What are you taking from this?
I love, love, love getting your feedback, or if you’ve had a specific situation that was really tricky, I’d love for you to DM me on Instagram at xokrissyleonard and share it with me.
I love you, and I’ll talk to you soon.
P.S. Do you want to set up your profitable business foundation to bring in consistent $5-10K months? I’ve put together a free in-depth training for you! You can register HERE.