Ep 34 – Coaching Client Management the Free and Simple Way

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Show Notes

This episode is part of the Smart Mindsets & Habits series. And it was inspired by a segment in the last episode called 3 Power Packed Online Tools Every Coach Needs.

That episode has been super popular so I’ll do a quick review to set up today’s episode. I covered 3 critical tools all coaches need:

  • A client-winning website preferably on a WordPress theme.
  • An email campaign service — Aweber (affiliate link) is my favorite.
  • And an online scheduler.

The main message I had for you was to invest wisely in your success. Not all expenses have the same long term value to your coaching business success. For example, it’s worth it to invest highly up front in creating a client-winning website with a conversion process to help you enroll clients.

But, investing in a lot of apps with monthly fees is not the best investment unless those expenses directly support you to earn more. For example, why spend $20 – $30 per month for an online scheduling system when you can spend 1/2 – 2/3 less using a great service like TimeTrade?

I also warned about those all-in-one online services designed for coaches that include a website with a client portal and a scheduler all bundled into one high monthly payment.

Beware of this kind of investment because at best, the websites are clunky and don’t allow for much customization. They’re set up as online brochures only without a conversion process to help you attract and enroll clients who pay well.

I totally get the attraction of a single solution offer especially when you’re new to running your own business and have so much to learn and do. It seems like the right thing to do. And I know that the idea of a client portal seems professional.

But, in reality, client portals are a hassle for clients and there are free ways to serve your clients well.

So, over the next few episodes I’m going to share my client management systems with you. They are ultra simple and work beautifully. At the end of the day, they cost little or nothing and are easy to use.

No client portal or expensive monthly fees necessary!

Client Management Starts with Prospects

Before I dig in to the actual moving parts of my system, consider this …

Connection, not selling,

is what will attract and enroll your coaching clients.

Client management actually begins the moment you have a first connection with a potential client. That might be through social media or a networking event. It might be through your blog or podcast.

Your care and attention comes across in absolutely everything you do when you do these 3 things:

  1. Your website speaks the language of your target audience and names their specific challenges and desires.
  2. You deliver unique value and invite a Discovery Session in your free offer and follow up emails .
  3. You hit the mark about what’s important to your target audience in your blogs, podcast episodes and social posts.

Before you can do those things, you’ll need to understand exactly who your target audience is, what they want and what’s been in the way of that.

When you’re crystal clear about those things and all of your efforts to build your business are centered around that knowing, you easily attract and enroll your clients.

If you’ve been struggling with this piece — to land a viable target audience and learn what it is they want so much they’ll invest in your help to get it — let’s have a Strategy Session and get that piece solidified in your mind so you can shift from selling coaching to offering a solution your audience will buy.

So … client management begins the moment you have a first connection with a potential client. And connection is not the same thing as selling.

I’m not a fan of the salesy approach.

I’m a big fan of what I call the high touch approach.

High touch means personal connection. It’s being a human being with the human beings in and around your target audience.

Creating smart systems help you free up time to connect with prospects in a high touch way.

Email is Universal

For the most part, my prospect and client management system is based on email.

Why? Because email is still universal. It’s a rare person that doesn’t use email.

I use my email program on my computer as my primary tool to collect and maintain important information about and for my clients.

Now, I’m a super organized person. I can’t stand having a bunch of unprocessed emails in my inbox. And, I hate to waste time searching for things. Also, I don’t want to have to remember everything. I want systems that help me access information when I need it to serve my clients well.

I use the touch-it-once method of time management. As much as possible, I read email once and process it fully. I check my email about 3 – 5x each day depending on the day. And I block time to do it.

The first part of this simple system is to set up folders in your email program. Here are the folders I’ve set up:

  • One named for each coaching client
  • Past Clients
  • Do Soon
  • Records to Keep
  • Handy Stuff
  • Templates

Let’s go through each of these email folders.

Coaching Client Folders

Any email connection I have with a client, including those that came before they hired me are pulled into that folder. I also put in that folder a copy of any email I send to my client. Email programs will keep back and forth emails in a thread of course.

Past Clients

When I finish working with a client I move all their emails into the past client folder and eliminate the named folder. Many of my clients come back to work with me after my signature program is finished and I want to easily access their history.

Do Soon

In the rare event there’s something I need to save to read and process later, I only leave it in my inbox a day or two. If it’s something I want to keep beyond that, it goes in DO SOON and I clean that folder out monthly.

For example, let’s say a prospect fills out the form on my Work with Rhonda page but our Discovery Session is a few weeks away, I tuck that form into Do Soon. That way I can re-read that before our session. And if they hire me, that info gets tucked into the folder with their name on it. Also, if I order something online I tuck the order confirmation into Do Soon.

Records to Keep

This is pretty straight forward. It’s official emails including receipts, payments, copies of invoices, emails from financial institutions, apps or software programs that I want to keep in perpetuity.

Templates

This is the gold mine. Templating is the simplest kind of system.

If you do something more than once in your business, template it!

I like to customize my templates to fit each prospect and client. So only the information that is always the same is in the template and I build in space for me to put in personal information to connect with the individual I’m emailing.

Handy Stuff

This little folder has 4 templates in it that I use nearly every day plus one more email to keep me organized.

1. A templated email to invite a Discovery Session.

When coaches arrive on my website, some navigate to the Work with Rhonda tab and fill out the application there. I receive that form by email, read it and reply. The template has some prepared copy that is always the same. To use the template I simply click forward and then customize it to respond personally to the coach who has applied.

Because my coaching business is so targeted and niched, lots of people fill out that application to work with me on my website.

2. A templated email to take notes during Discovery Sessions.

Rather than a sample coaching session I offer a Discovery Session which is a more effective way of enrolling clients. This email template has a set of questions I usually ask prospects and space for taking notes.

I have trained myself to listen deeply and take notes at the same time. And the electronic notes help me to remember what my prospects shared so that if they become clients I can recall those things to serve them well.

3. A templated email to send after the Discovery Session.

Although I tend to send this immediately after a Discovery Session, if I need to create it later, the Discovery Session notes help me to customize this template. It includes the details of my Signature Program including the milestones I help coaches achieve, the cost of the program, the number of sessions and other features included. Things I don’t want to type out every time.

Some of my clients hire me on spot. Most people need a day to think about it. This templated but customizeable email provides details they can look at after our call.

4. A templated email for Session Recaps to send to my Strategy Session and VIP clients after a call and store for my notes.

This just has a structure built into it. I take a lot of notes because I go deep into processes with my clients and each client is very unique. My clients have told me they appreciate the Session Recaps I send because it keeps them on track and accountable. And, they don’t have to take as detailed notes for themselves. It’s a gift I give to my clients.

5. A list of links that I use a lot.

Such as links to TimeTrade activities, to often referred to pages on my website, to affiliate links and more. I don’t keep passwords here. I used LastPass to keep my passwords. It’s totally worth $36/year.

To recap … your computer’s email program can be the centerpiece of your client management. I’ve never paid for any type of online service to keep track of what’s going on with my clients.

In the Next Episode I’ll cover other aspects of client management. Stay tuned.