Episode 117

Client Renewal Conversations

Client renewal conversations are a vital part of running a successful, sustainable business. However, the prospect of having these conversations often brings up dread and angst, and can leave entrepreneurs feeling stuck. So, we’re diving into the world of client renewal conversations on today’s episode.

It’s common to worry about being rejected or questioned by your clients, especially when you’re raising your prices. But when you understand exactly where your angst is coming from around client renewal conversations and you have some practical tips about how best to have them, you’ll find it easier than ever to retain clients and keep your business moving.

Tune in this week for an in-depth discussion about client renewal. I’m showing you how to see where your angst around these conversations is really coming from, how to identify the thoughts that are stopping you from re-signing clients time after time, and how to show up with the best possible energy for your client renewal conversations.

Join me on March 6th, 2024, for a brand new workshop. This masterclass will be live on Zoom and it’s full of new material and big-level thinking I’ve never shared before. It’s called Meant for More, and you can join us by clicking here!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How to get clear on why client renewal conversations are bringing up discomfort.
  • Why client renewal conversations are an important part of any business.
  • How to bring ease to your client renewal conversations by mastering your mindset.
  • Some examples of what more effective client renewal conversations could look like in your business.
  • How to feel good about yourself and not attached to any result when you hold client renewal conversations.

Resources

Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast with Debbie Sassen, Episode 117.

Welcome to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast. I’m your host, Debbie Sassen. I went from being a financial adviser, author and chronic underearner to building my business to six figures as a financial planner and money mindset coach. And then, on to multiple six figures as a full-time money and business coach.

I help entrepreneurs create money making businesses and build wealth, using sales and money mindset strategies in alignment with authentic Jewish values. Now, let’s dive in to today’s show.

Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. Today, I have a juicy topic for you. We’re going to be speaking about client renewal conversations because it has been coming up a lot in my Wired for Wealth group coaching program for Jewish women.

And if it is coming up for my clients, then I imagine they’re not the only ones that are dealing with client renewal conversations. And so, I thought that all my listeners would want to hear about them, and hear my thoughts and my approach to renewal conversations.

So often those conversations cause dread, angst. “Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what my client’s going to think about me when we get on this conversation.” So, we’re going to dive into renewals today.

But before we do that, I want to remind you that on March 6, I am running a free two-hour workshop, it is called Meant for More. I know that if you’re here listening to this podcast you have a big dream inside of you. You are creative, you have a vision, you have something in this world that God has gifted you to do, some talents, the way you think about people, the way you interact with people, gifts that are God given that are only yours.

And so often, we hold ourselves back. I know, as a working mom, as a mom of eight children… Thank the good Lord that I have so many beautiful, healthy children, and 16 grandchildren… it is a lot. I’m not dismissing that one iota; I know what it’s like. But we also have so much to give to the world.

And depending on where you are in your cycle of life, if you’re trying to sort of weave in your gifts while you’re bringing up kids, or you’re waiting till your youngest goes off to first grade, whatever it is for you… I’ve spoken about how I left the Bank of Israel when my baby was less than a year old and I jumped into the entrepreneurial world. It took me a while because I was dealing with a bunch of littles at home. It was a slower growth path for me.

But wherever you are on your journey, I know that the way you think about what you are here in the world to do makes such a difference in how you show up, how you serve. And when you are really thinking and believing that you are meant for more, you’re going to show up differently. You will share your gifts differently with the people that God has contracted to work with you.

I really believe my clients are divinely contracted to work with me. Hold on to that thought, by the way, because it will be very relevant with the renewal conversations. We don’t have to make it a big deal, right? The way you’re thinking is always impacting the way you’re feeling, what you’re doing and not doing in your business, in your life, and what you create in your world.

Your thoughts create your reality. We’re always living in these little mini creation cycles where we’re thinking thoughts and what we see in our life is a result of what we have been thinking and feeling all along. So, go to my website, DebbieSassen.com/meantformore, and sign up for this two-hour free workshop.

We’re going to be talking about how overwhelm and self-sabotage stop you from showing up as the leader that you are. We’re going to learn how to overcome ourselves, those own boundaries and barriers that we put in place. And really understanding what your gifts are, what the roadmap for your business can be based on your stage of life, and how to stop underearning.

Because so many women want to help the world. We have such compassion, such big hearts. But when we give our services away without that energetic exchange of money, we’re not asking and receiving the money that respects and reflects the energy that we put into the world, we’re underearning and we really want to nip that pattern in the bud.

Change the amount of money you’re earning. Change the amount of money that you have for your family, for your children, and for your future self. A future self that might be 85 years old and she doesn’t want to be working. She wants to be playing with her grandkids and having her pension or her retirement account taking care of her.

So, DebbieSassen.com/meantformore. I look forward to seeing you March 6th. If you can’t be there live, sign up, I will send you the replay.

All right, my friends, let us talk about renewal conversations. I know that my clients feel this dread. “I don’t know what I’m going to say. What’s she going to think? What if I raised my prices?” There are so many thoughts that come up when we’re approaching these renewal conversations.

The first thing that is so important for you to do in your business, is to do a thought download of all the thoughts that are swimming around in your brain as you approach your renewal conversations with your clients. Now, these types of conversations are particularly relevant for coaches and healers, people who work long term with their clients.

Although, if you’re a copywriter, for example, and you have a package where you write 10 blogs or you’re doing email sequences for your clients, you can also have renewal conversations with your clients for how to continue the work. If you are a copywriter, and you’re writing copy for a website, you might be able to introduce a retainer package to write blog posts or to write other content for your clients.

So, even if you are not a coach… About half of my clients are coaches, coaches and healers. The other half of my clients are service providers of some dimension, whether it is website, designer, developer, copywriter, computer programmer, or developers. My clients are photographers, interior designers, service providers of different types.

Some of the engagements that my clients have with their clients are very defined and very boundaried. For example, if you go out for a photoshoot, then we know when it starts, we know when it finishes, and we know when the photographer delivers the photos to her client. However, you might be thinking, even as a photographer, how can I work on behalf of my client to have a regular engagement, almost like a membership or subscription?

Amazon is great at that, right? We have subscriptions on Amazon, and everything else. You might have a family photo shoot every three months or every six months, where you’re going to just get some updated photos. So, as I’m talking about renewals, if it doesn’t apply specifically to your business, as you run your business today, think a little bit outside the box. How you actually can take this concept and apply it to your business.

So, let’s just go back to when you are approaching the time, when you have to have this renewal conversation with your client, the way you think about this conversation makes all the difference. I’m going to take the example of a weight loss coach, because the result that clients desire is very tangible, it’s a number. I can also use a business coach.

Because my clients have numbers that they desire. They want to create their first $5,000 month, their first $10,000 month, they want consistent $10,000 months or their first $100,000 year or $200,000 year. Right? Those are very tangible results, and it’s easy to measure.

Whereas a website, where you have written an “About” page or a home page, and you’re promising… not that you could… a certain amount of traffic to come to that page and a certain number of sales that would be created as a result of having that website up, it’s a little bit different. It’s a little bit less tangible.

I’m going to, for the purposes of this episode, keep it to a very tangible conversation because it just helps us to illustrate the point. So, let’s say for example, that you are a weight loss coach and you have a three-month package where you are working with your client. The client had a goal of losing 20 pounds. We’re not going to say if that’s realistic or not, that was the client’s goal.

As you’re getting to the last, let’s say, two weeks of your coaching relationship with your client, your client has only lost, let’s say, 13 pounds. Three weeks, one pound a week, that’s kind of normal. Maybe her goal was a little bit audacious. Maybe there was something that happened in the middle; she had a family Simha celebration, she didn’t keep to her food plan. Whatever, it doesn’t really matter.

If you, as the coach, are approaching that conversation thinking that you are a failure because you didn’t get your client to her goal. Or if your client has already voiced that concern that she’s a failure, it’s going too slow,  maybe she’s plateaued, it’s never going to happen, all of those negative thoughts that are roaming around in your brain and are roaming around her brain are going to create negative results.

Because our thoughts, as we started off saying, always create the results, or something pretty near, in our life and in our business. So you as the service provider, as the supplier, the vendor, you want to notice how you are thinking. “I didn’t do my job well. My client didn’t achieve the result.”

Even if you are writing blog posts for your client, and traffic to their website didn’t increase because of your blogs. If you’re beating yourself up and saying, “Oh, I’m such a bad copywriter. My client’s never going to hire me again.” This is important information that you want to extract from your brain and write it down on paper.

When you write down your thoughts you can actually become the observer. You can become the watcher of your thoughts and you can ask yourself: I wonder what happens if I continue to think this thought? I wonder what happens if I continue to think that I’m not good enough as a coach, or I’m not good enough as a copywriter? What happens if I continue to think my client didn’t get the results she wanted so she’s never going to hire me again?

Or think about a renewal conversation where you want to raise your prices, right? Maybe between last year, 2023, and this year, 2024, you raised your prices and now you’re coming up to a renewal conversation, and you’re dreading telling your client that you raised your prices. Again, you’re thinking thoughts, “Oh, no, she’s going to think I’m price gouging her. Oh, no, she’s going to ask for a discount. Oh, no, she’s going to have thoughts about me. It’s so unfair. Who do I think I am?”

Again, all of these thoughts swimming in your brain are going to create your results. So, get them out of your head and write them down on paper. And then you can start asking yourself if it even makes sense. Now, this was actually very fascinating. I’m going to go back to the example of the weight loss coach, whose client wanted to lose 20 pounds, got to the deadline of the engagement and only lost 13.

I remember having this exact conversation with my coach when I was creating maybe my first $20,000 or $25,000 months. I thought it was going to take four weeks, it ended up taking six weeks. She’s like, “Yeah, your brain just got the time wrong.” It was sort of a like a mind shift. Sort of like that epiphany moment where I’m like, “Oh, you mean if it takes me six weeks instead of four, it’s my brain that got the time wrong.”

It doesn’t have to mean anything about me. You can be thinking that about your clients. If you’re a business coach and your client hasn’t made as much money as she wanted, as quickly as she was hoping, her brain just got the time wrong.

The same thing with weight loss, “Oh, her brain just got the time wrong. It wasn’t realistic with everything going on in her life, the amount of exercise, the amount of water, the amount of sleep,” whatever you have in your protocol, “Her body’s just reacting differently, and her brain got the time wrong.”

When you’re approaching it like that it takes away so much stress, so much dread, and you can be so much lighter about the conversation. You can approach it without this, “Oh my gosh, she’s going to think that I’m such a terrible person that I’m raising my prices, I want to renew the contract.” Because you can really start thinking about your client as that service provider that you are.

You’re not a price gouger. You’re not someone who’s trying to steal money from your clients. I know you. Even if you and I have never met, I know you. You have a good, big heart. You want to serve your people so much. It’s so important for you. That is who you are. You’re not trying to suck money out of them in an evil, devious, slimy way.

You really have to train your brain to think thoughts on purpose. And you need to help your clients think good thoughts. Again, if you’re a weight loss coach, help your client think, “Oh, my brain got the time wrong.” We don’t have to always think about all the other positives about the weight loss. Like, “My skin looks better, and my clothes are fitting better.” Those are all beautiful.

But sometimes, that number on the scale, especially for weight loss clients… ask me how I know. It’s just like four or five pounds, it’s not even a big deal. But it’s one of those thoughts that spins in my brain from time to time. Many times. Anyway…

But your brain just got the time wrong, and that’s not a problem. That’s okay. You’re beautiful, you’re wonderful, and you’re a child of God just the same, regardless of whether you lose 13 or 20 or 7 or 27 pounds in a three-month period.

The same thing for business. Regardless of whether you make $5,000 a month, $10,000, $15,000, or $2,000 a month, it doesn’t really matter. Yes, you’re here to grow your business. Yes, you’re here to provide your services. And your trajectory is so unique to you as a person, as a mom, as someone who has a lot of balls that she’s juggling in the air, and you have so much compassion.

So, the time will make a difference, especially if you’re in business and you have bills to pay. But I want you to start thinking different thoughts. We can train our brain to think differently.

If you’re coming up to a renewal conversation, we want to first of all start shifting the way we’re thinking about that conversation. “It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. I’m here to serve my client. The results that they achieved during our engagement period, it doesn’t really mean anything about me as a coach. It doesn’t really mean anything about my client, as a client. We just maybe have some more learning to do. Maybe there’s some new facts that we didn’t understand in the beginning.”

Okay, that’s number one. That was a big number one. But just understanding what your brain is offering you, and changing the thoughts, is number one.

Number two, if you are attached to signing this client. Again, it’s important to you. You need to renew this client, either because you need this client to help you pay the bills… Newsflash, your clients are not here to pay your bills. Your clients are here to give you an energetic exchange of money for the value that you give them, and the results that you help them create in their life or in their business. Your clients do not pay your bills. You get to decide, with all the money you have, how you’re going to pay your bills.

But if you’re attached to this client to pay your bills, that is not going to work. We have to learn to become unattached to our clients, for both the money that they give us, that they pay us. And also, for any sort of selfesteem or validation that they give us as a business owner. You get to believe that you’re a business owner, and that you’re a good one, even if you have zero clients.

I know that’s, again, sort of an epiphany. But it doesn’t mean anything about you as a business owner if you have a fully booked calendar, or if you have one client or two clients or zero clients. You still are an authority and an expert in the thing you do, at the level that you do it. And you get to validate yourself through your thoughts; your validation and your selfesteem. Again, because our thoughts create our results, right?

When I’m thinking, “Yeah, I run a business. I help people. I know how to help people. I’m worthy. I’m a child of God.” These are the thoughts that you were thinking about yourself. You don’t need to be attached to your clients working with you, signing up the first time, or even renewing and signing up with you for the second or the third, or the umpteenth time.

Because how you feel inside about yourself as a service provider, whether it’s a coach or something else, how you feel comes from your thoughts. Yes, when we see our clients’ results it gives us the evidence and it helps us, it encourages us. But you don’t need it. Let’s let go of that attachment to needing to see their results, needing to have them stay on as our clients, in order to feel good about ourselves and validated as a business owner.

Okay, that’s number two. Really, you have to become disconnected, detached from this conversation. If you show up to that renewal conversation needy, graspy, needing that client to sign on with you again, you know what it’s going to create? Your client is going to run miles, because they’re going to feel it. They’re going to be repelled by your energy.

So, notice what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling. That’s why this thought download or brain dump, whatever you want to call it, is so useful. Because our brains are very sneaky and they’re very bratty. They give us all sorts of thoughts that are totally useless. They don’t help us create the results that we want in our life.

You can also ask yourself: Is this thought useful, when I’m thinking that I need it or I’m thinking that my client should re-sign with me? Maybe that’s point number 3, right? It’s a little bit .2a, we’ll call it point number 3. When you’re thinking that your client should renew with you, again, there’s that grasping in there. “Shoulding” is always a no-no. Right?

Just remember yourself as a young child, when you’re sitting in the classroom and the teacher is telling you, “Oh, you should have done your homework.” Remember getting back on the test, “Oh, you should do better. You should put in more effort.” You should-you should-you should. You just retreat. Where you sort of shut down. Either you’re going to fight back or you’re going to retreat into yourself.

It is not going to help you when you are “should-ing” your clients, even in your head, or “should-ing” yourself in any sort of way in your business. The same thing if your parents were “should-ing” you. “You should have cleaned your room. You should know better.” Who’s ever had that happen in their life? I’m sure we all did. “Should-ing” doesn’t work.

The kids might stomp away, feel very angry about it, they might slam some drawers, and clean up the room a little bit, but it’s never with ease. It’s never with grace. It’s never with a big, open heart. So, really think about how you’re thinking about your clients. They should sign? No, they shouldn’t sign, especially if you’re thinking these “should” thoughts in your head.

It might be a beautiful thing, we might help them get better results or more long-term results if and when they sign again, but we have to let go of this attachment. One of my coaches said to me several years ago, “Closings and continuations are equally good.” Meaning, when you close the relationship with a client it’s beautiful. And when you continue your relationship with the client, that’s beautiful, right?

When we can really believe 100% that closings or completions are the same, equal to, continuations, it lets go of so much stress around the conversation.

And then you can get to the end of your package with your client, and you can say, “This has been a beautiful time together. This is our last session. Let’s go through all of the wins. Let’s go through how much you have accomplished. And let’s put together a plan for you going forward. And of course, my door is always open. My Zoom is always open if you want to come back again.”

When we let go of the attachment it’s just such a beautiful, fun conversation.

Alright, point number four is the timing of these conversations. Don’t wait until the last session that you have with your clients to start talking about renewals. It puts so much pressure, it puts so much dread on you.

You’re going to show up to the call and wonder, “What do I do on this call? Do I have this renewal conversation with her? And what if it doesn’t work out? Then I’m going to feel weird and icky for the entire conversation. I don’t want to waste her time. She’s paying me for 12 full sessions, how can I use half an hour of our session to have a renewal conversation?”

Here’s what you want to do. Again, it depends on how long your engagements are with your clients when you start seeding those conversations. But if you have a three-month package, for example, about a month before your sessions you really want to start dropping hints, planting seeds, with your clients.

Like, “Hey, you know you’ve come really far during the time that we’ve been working together, and I want to talk to you about what happens after the first three months. Because you haven’t hit your goals.” Or maybe she did hit her goals. “We want maintenance. We want to improve.”

Let’s say you’re a business coach, and you want to help your clients continue growing in their business. Or if you’re a personal trainer, and you want to help your clients get to higher levels of weightlifting, or you want to help them run faster. Just imagine a coach for an Olympic athlete. The coaches don’t get their clients the bronze medal, the silver medal, and then are like, “Okay, you guys are good.” We’re going to still work together for the gold.

So, even when your clients have made tremendous strides, tremendous achievements, it can be very beneficial if you guys are working well together, you’re on the same wavelength, there’s a very good working relationship with each other, it just makes so much sense for them to continue getting better results.

And if you’re in your head thinking about that, it makes sense. Not they have to, and not they should, but it makes sense for them for their longterm goals. You just start dropping hints four weeks before they’re due to renew or do to finish.

And when I say drop hints, again, I don’t mean that in a sleazy, manipulative way. You’re going to start seeding it in the conversations. Like, “Hey, we need to have a conversation about what happens next.” And depending on the relationship that you have with your client, you can even say, “Hey, you know, next month we’re going to finish. And I think it makes sense to continue, don’t you?”

If you have that kind of relationship with your client, it can just be like, “Yeah, it makes sense. Okay, great.”

But so often we get that money thing. Let’s talk about money objections, right? We’re worried what they’re going to say about the money, “Oh, no, it costs so much money.” That’s where, when you’re in your brain thinking about the money, and thinking about what they’re thinking about the money, that’s when you trip yourself up.

Just like it was valuable for your client to work with you for three months, and that was a beautiful exchange of value for money, that doesn’t change because you work with your client for another three months or another six months. There is still a beautiful exchange of value for money. Nothing changed.

And just because they got half of the results they wanted, two thirds, three quarters, it doesn’t mean that just getting a quarter of the results… Sometimes it’s the last bit, that last 10 pounds, that gold medal. What’s the difference between a silver medal and a gold medal? It’s a second or a nanosecond. Just getting that extra little bit can be so valuable, right?

We think that, “If I’ve already done 75%, I don’t need a coach for the last 25%.” And if you’re thinking in your head, not from a grasping way, not from a sleazy way, that that’s wrong, really, it’s the last 25% that’s the hardest. We know that for a fact.

Again, we don’t want to show up needing the client or “should-ing” the client, but you have in your head, “Yeah, of course, they got the first 75% of the results easily. They lost that first 13 pounds easily. We still have seven to go,” it’s always the end that’s hardest, right? Imagine running a marathon, it’s always those last few miles. I can’t tell you from experience, I’m not a runner.

But you’re exhausted after running so many miles, it has to be harder. Maybe you get that runner’s high and the euphoria and that helps you speed up at the end. I’m never going to know in my lifetime, my knees are just not cut out for marathons. I’m not disappointed about that.

So, you really have to think about, in your head, when you’re going to start talking about renewals in a very beautiful, casual way. You knowing that it’s always the end, that requires a little bit more effort. Always, as I said, the last few miles of the marathon, always the last 10 pounds, right? It makes so much sense for you to continue working with each other.

And when you can have those conversations casually and easily, and you can be unattached from the result, I promise you it will make such a difference in your renewal conversations. You’re just going to show up and it’s going to be so much less dread and angst and stress around the call. It’s just going to be a normal conversation, like a normal person has with another normal person.

Alright, my friends, that is what I have for you today. Let’s do a quick recap of what we talked about. Number one, getting yourself out of your head, because your thoughts are going to create your results. Number two is not being attached. And number three is starting to have those conversations and don’t wait for the last minute. Start talking 2-3-4-5 weeks before you’re coming up to the end of the engagement, to have those renewal conversations.

Alright, last thing. Let me remind you, on March 6th there is a free two-hour workshop, because you are Meant for More. You have so much inside of you to bring to the world. Go to my website, DebbieSassen.com/meantformore and sign up. I will see you March 6th. Bye, for now.

Thanks for listening to The Jewish Entrepreneur Podcast. If you want to stop underselling and underearning and close more sales, you need to clear the limiting money beliefs that are sabotaging your business growth.

Head on over to DebbieSassen.com/mindset and download my free Money Mindset Workbook. Uncover and dissolve money blocks, like hundreds of other entrepreneurs who are now building six-, multi-six-, and seven-figure businesses and creating true financial freedom.

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