The following is excerpted from the online group coaching program at Wealthy Thought Leader called the Meaningful Monetization Lab. We call it the Lab because of our fundamentally experimental approach to businesses that challenge the status quo. This is a peek into how online coaching occurs in our groups, but more importantly on the occasion of the release of ‘We Need to Talk: Your Guide to Challenging Business Conversations’ it’s a vivid portrayal of Chapter 2 in the book, called the Universal Key.
As you read it, there are a few things to think about that can be useful:
1. Identify where you behave or feel similarly to the Lab member who poses the question below. This kind of scenario – concerning a boundary challenge – occurs frequently in all departments of a business. In a higher-revenue business, it can occur in blind spots that take quite a lot to see. Be persistent.
2. Jot down key phrases from the sample reply that resonate with you, and notice how they play a role in unlocking the tension in the scenario. Very often, all it takes it a little guidance regarding ‘exactly how do I say this?’ to set us free.
3. Finally, see if you can locate the three questions in the ‘Delta Model for challenging conversations.’ This ‘Delta,’ as we call it, is the backbone of my entire thesis around making business challenges easy. It is a truly universal key.
Asking for Help When You Want to Close a Client But Trying To Honour Your Boundaries
[TIME SENSITIVE – How to gracefully handle a new client’s request] I need to reply by tonight to an email I just received from a prospective client who said, “Thanks for the discussion last night, I am so excited”
BUT…even though I told him it’s a one payment retainer, he said…
“So could we agree to 4 payments? I was anticipating doing a few sessions but, after our chemistry, I have decided to go ahead. I can usually get this expensed quite easily. So a breakdown will be beneficial.”
Then, he also asked for a coaching slot outside my usual hours (he’s in a European country, and I’m in the US) and is a little dicey about my 48-hour cancellation policy:
“Also 10am would be 730pm here and that’s the latest I can do, or it will disrupt things a bit. We are in summer here, so if you have other time slot suggestions, do let me know. To give notice of changes 48 hours ahead, it would be hard for family emergencies with an infant, but I respect that need of course.”
How can I politely and supportively say “2 payments only. I only work 10am – 4 pm. Time commitments are firm with 48 hour cancellations, even with an infant??”
Listening Deeply to What You Want, What ‘They’ Want and Seeking the Overlap
This is my reply, among several others from the Wealthy Thought Leader coaching team, as well as colleagues in the Lab.
“First, I want to really honour your desire to deepen your capability to say these things AND say them well. In my opinion, most people grossly neglect the fact that tone, approach or HOW one puts things makes a real difference to results and quality of our business relationships.
Your question gets to the heart of: would you rather claim your assertiveness proudly and factually, but energetically turn the dial down on your connection? or communicate your position well in a self empowering way that INCREASES the clients respect? Your spidey sense, wise as it is, knows – and I concur- that the latter is what leads to raving life long fans.
Suggested language would very much be in line with the wisdom Jodi laid out for you already. I would add that there’s something between the lines here around HOW you said ‘2 payments’ to him on the call in the first place. Were you super clear? It’s something to mull on – this is an excellent moment to seize, a kind of ‘live ammunition training’ that will help you communicate even better next time.
Assuming a few things (and note, we won’t give you exact language like this every time – the better for you to practice for yourself) see what you think of this:
Dear cherished client/name:
Your excitement is palpable and I think will only solidify and become tangible as your commitment to the work grows. I look forward to supporting and witnessing that.
Re your questions, I know we can work out a time – it is a bit of an extra challenge but one I’m willing to meet you on. Shall we say x time for the foreseeable x sessions? And yes. Your life has lots of moving parts indeed- THANK YOU for your attention to the cancellation policy. It’s one of the things that allows me to be at my best in service to your goals and surpass expectations with clients time and again in our work.
Name, regarding the payment plan, perhaps there’s something deeper here worthy of discussion. I would very much like to start our work with a solid footing including the financial arrangements. This program is payable in one payment as a standard so four payments on different staggered dates is not tenable. If four invoices payable in the same x day time frame would support you, I can put in place that paperwork. Or if there is another way in which I can support you in this direction, I’m open to suggestions. Two payments within x days is a compromise I can do, with the caveat that there is a x dollar administration fee.
Name, the commitment to something as significant as this work can be notable and in my experience how we start can tell us something about the breakthroughs that are coming. Perhaps you have some thoughts about this? Let’s be sure to discuss in our first session shall we?
Important: Be sure to adapt and edit to fit YOU!
Your Needs, If Left Unattended, Will Surface and Breakdown the Best Client Relationship
It’s far better to not get the client in the first place, than to get a client under false pretenses. False pretenses in this case would be to pretend you are fine with 4 payments and a less rigourous cancellation policy. For the amount of anxiety and wasted energy, disappointment and ruined reputation starting this way most often causes? Better to say no to the client entirely.
Click here to read more about how saying ‘no’ can give you more time each day and here for 52 places you can start saying No.
The Delta Model for Conversations Wins the Day
So how does this story, and others like it end? We field dozens of posts like this each day in our Meaningful Monetization Lab, from business owners just starting out, to veteran six-figure plussers, working to change the status quo in all fields of human endeavour. What I love the most is how personal and individual our coaching gets to be. Not just on the surface mind you, but following through to the principles. It’s an environment I am so proud of.
For closure, because we all love a happy ending, here is part of what transpired in a reply posted by the Lab member.
“Andrea, that is PRECISELY the way I want to communicate. Big bow of appreciation to you.
I love the language you’ve shared here. I trust it will solidify what’s already been built. And I’m open to talking with him more. I am just not good before 10 am. I know it. I like to take my time in the mornings. And I don’t want to have to carve up the payments. He’s not all-in if he’s doing 4 payments. I think 2 is generous. Most clients don’t even ask.”
Good Energy is Infectious
“TA-DA! He signed on as a client! I’m still a little concerned about how the scheduling will go, but we’ll work it out. I am trusting. Thank you all for the support. And Andrea, I see you as such a magical word magician. xo
I LOVE this community as such great support for learning. I’m glad this thread has opened up discussion with everyone here. It’s given me not only support for doing my business in a way that works, but bonding in the relationship. “
If you read the above bearing in mind the Delta Model shown above, you’ll likely see clearly where each of the questions was addressed. Each conversation you have, no matter how easy or stuck, how much you dread it, or how off-the-charts un-resolvable you feel it is, will move in a positive direction when you use those questions with an open heart. I hope you’ll try it the next time you’re in even the tiniest bit of hot water.
The book, ‘We Need to Talk: Your Guide to Challenging Business Conversations’ and the Meaningful Monetization Lab are pillars in our coaching business. The book is available NOW in Kindle, Audiobook and Paperback at Amazon.com, and for every book sold by June 5, we’re donating a matching copy to a worthy non profit supporting entrepreneurs worldwide.