“Business as usual” is a thing of the past.
As you grow and scale your business, you’re always going to have clients in your program tell you that you’ve totally changed their lives. They’ll stick around for years, refer you to their friends, rave about you on all their social media platforms.
And at the same time, there will be the ones who tell you your program stinks. That you’re a horrible person, that you didn’t deliver on your promise, that even though they aren’t doing the work required to get results, it’s somehow still your fault.
The reality right now, is that online service providers are operating in an ENTIRELY different climate than ever before.
Societal shifts and triggers and post-pandemic stressors have people operating in a less-than-optimal state of mind. And some patterns we’re noticing in the market are that clients just don’t have the same reverence to contracts or commitments.
We’re seeing more and more fraudulent Stripe disputes, no-pays, demands for refunds and cancellations.
And regardless of whether they decide to be a good human or not and abide by their contract, as a business owner…you still have bills to pay. Whether it’s your team who’s servicing clients every day, advertising, technology, etc.
The truth? Online businesses are closing every day – and if you don’t want to be one of them, read on, because below I’m sharing 5 proactive strategies you need to put in place starting NOW, if you (like me) have noticed a rise in clients not paying their bills and want to protect your business.
Collect first and last payments upfront.
When you lease an apartment or pay for a gym, what do you do? Security deposit…check. Maintenance/enrollment fees…check. You can decide how you want to structure monthly payments, but collecting the first and last month’s payment upfront ensures you can pay your team to deliver services and protect your business.
Putting this in place will do two things:
- Raise the bar – now you’re attracting clients with a higher commitment level).
- Eliminate prospects who only have enough to pay that initial payment. Now you can avoid any scrambling once they jump into your program and aren’t seeing results overnight.
Move to an interview/application process.
DISQUALIFY as much as you QUALIFY. Adding an application or interview element to the enrollment process screens people prior to joining and ensures that no one who isn’t 100% qualified to work with you doesn’t slip through.
Here’s the deal: when you get good at launching, it’s easy to get to the point where you’re selling in high volume. The problem is, sometimes they aren’t all the RIGHT people. You don’t want dabblers who don’t follow through, fail to take ownership or simply waste your energy with stories, excuses and complaints. Instead, shifting that energy toward those who are willing to run the drills, exercise their critical thinking and work to get the results in your program will be critical in protecting your business from risk.
You’re a business owner, not a babysitter.
Strong pay-in-full incentives.
The truth is, the clients who can afford to pay for your services in full upfront are typically the most qualified, the most committed, and in turn get the best results. So, think about it: what is the most motivating thing to your audience? What kind of bonuses or offers are going to drive them to pay in full rather than opting for a payment plan?
Speaking from experience… some of our best clients have been the ones who have jumped in, paid in full, and crushed it in just a few weeks or months, as if they had been clients for YEARS. The caliber of people in the room at our last pay-in-full VIP day? Mind blowing. Offering stronger pay in full incentives is another way to protect your business by screening potential clients to make sure you’re not attracting dabblers.
Create an a-la-carte menu.
Up until a few weeks ago, we had our signature flagship offer and a few ascension programs in place. We decided to create a variety of a-la-cart offers that we could share with people who either don’t need a full 12-month program, have other commitments, or simply aren’t ready to invest in the program…and we’ve been making sales consistently almost every day. WITHOUT marketing it.
From a strategy standpoint, when you have one-off offers that people can pay for in full and get immediate results from, reinvesting to work with you is a no-brainer. An a-la-carte menu of specific offers, laser-focused strategy sessions, VIP opportunities or downsells – are a great way to compliment and grow your monthly income.
Cater to the top tier of your market.
Pay attention to who exactly in your program is getting results. Who are your best case studies and testimonials? Identify what these clients have in common. The determining factors of someone’s success and results are going to be much more related to psychographic than demographic.
So, hone in on that dream client and go out there and be really specific in your messaging so that you are attracting more and more of THOSE people. It’s okay to decide who you want to work with, and to be honest about when someone isn’t going to be a good fit in your program.
While these 5 strategies are going to help you reduce risk and protect your business, the mindset piece is just as important. So:
Keep the faith.
Reconnect with your purpose.
Reflect on your “why.”
And, remember who you’re here to serve. Define and refine over and over again. Look at people who are doing the work, and the people who are playing the blame game. Are you going to show up every day and serve the latter?